Is reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 too late?
Te Whanganui a Tara – Gross carbon emissions on Aotearoa have increased by 26 percent since 1990 and government policies do not put New Zealand on track to meet He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission’s recommended emissions budgets or the 2050 targets.
So, it is interesting and timely that the G7 summit has just wrapped up in England, with the leaders vowing to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, even though but environmental experts warning it will be too late.
Achieving the emissions reductions needed to get to 2050 will require New Zealand to move fast to implement a comprehensive plan.
It will mean changes to the way energy is produced, the way people travel, the communities they live and the way land is used.
It will involve changes to individual and corporate behaviours, changes to existing processes and ways of operating, and technological innovation.
There are many co-benefits from climate action, particularly to health because of warmer, drier homes, more walking and cycling, and less air pollution. These benefits can improve the quality of life for people now and in the future.
The commission has considered the views of 15,000 people and organisations that submitted on its draft advice. About 4000 more people came to events to hear from the commission and share their vision of a low-emissions Aotearoa.
If government chooses not to accept the commission’s recommendations, it must publicly explain why not. The Dr Rod Carr-led commission will hold successive governments to account for action to achieve long-term climate change goals.