New Zealand's Expanding Carbon Footprint Report
New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.
Target Climate Change banner unfurled on the Rainbow Warrior to mark the launch of the six week tour of New Zealand and the launch of the Greenpeace Emissions Trading Report
report titled 'New Zealand's Expanding Carbon Footprint -
Analysis of New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme: Major flaws and
barriers to emission cuts highlights some major shortcomings in the
The single most important thing we could do as a country to
tackle climate change is set a domestic emissions reduction target.
An overall target is needed if New Zealand is to achieve any
significant greenhouse gas emission reductions. As it stands the
scheme will fail to produce any substantial reductions. That's why
we are calling for all political parties to set a target of 30 per
cent reductions by 2020.
As the Rainbow Warrior tours the country we will be urging New
Zealanders to be more active in the fight against climate change
and encouraging them, as individuals, communities and businesses,
to adopt emission reduction targets in their own lives.
Why does NZ need emissions targets?
Countries already on target
- The UK has a target of 20 per cent by 2010. They'll reduce by
at least 17 per cent by 2010, and are well on track to achieve 30
per cent cuts by 2020.
- Germany has a target of 40 per cent by 2020, which it's on
track to meet.
- Sweden recently set an emission reduction target of 75-90 per
cent by 2050.
- And even Australia, a former laggard when it comes to climate,
and our main trading partner, has set a long term reduction
- Agriculture's Climate Challenge
New Zealand enjoys a 'clean and green' image, but appearances
can be deceiving. Our record on greenhouse gas emissions is
actually poor when compared to other developed countries.
We're among the worst in the industrialised world for emission
increases, the greenhouse gas intensity of our economy is one of
the highest among developed nations, and our individual carbon
footprints leave us as one of the 12 biggest climate polluters per
And while we may be at the bottom of the world, we're far from
immune to the consequences of climate change. Our economy is
reliant on a healthy environment and a stable climate, and our
agriculture, horticulture, tourism and forestry industries, which
are already feeling the impacts of climate change, face big
The recent Waikato droughts were the worst in over a century and
100 year storms, floods, droughts and rising sea levels are on the
increase. Fonterra has estimated that the cost of this year's
drought to dairy farmers alone will be over $500 million.
As we can't escape the effects of climate change, we should be
doing everything we can to reduce our contribution to the
New Zealand is unique for a developed country in that almost 50
per cent of our emissions come from the agriculture sector (the
majority of which are from the dairy industry). One third of these
emissions come from nitrous oxide (from livestock urine and
artificial fertiliser) and two-thirds come from methane (primarily
from livestock burping…the "fart" tax was in fact a misnomer).
Our poor record on climate change also threatens our "clean and
green" trade image, which is counting more and more overseas. Our
exporters should be doing everything they can to corner and
monopolise that high end of the market. We need to act now to
ensure the protection of New Zealand's environment and our
Scientists say we have an eight to ten year window to implement
real solutions if we hope to avoid dangerous climate change. This
will occur if we allow global temperatures to increase by more than
2°C from pre-industrial times, after which we will face
increasingly dramatic and unmanageable problems.
We CAN avoid this through a massive global reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions. The solutions exist and, individuals,
communities and governments all have a part to play in making this
Our economy depends on our clean, green image, and our
Politicians have a mandate to act on our behalf and be leaders on
climate change both at home, and abroad.
On the surface, it looks like we're doing a lot. The Labour-led
Government and the Green Party recently developed a 10 year ban on
new fossil fuel electricity generation, and set a 90 per cent
renewable energy target for 2025.
It has also introduced an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) under
which polluting sectors must, over time, cover the cost of their
greenhouse gas emissions. The idea is that if you charge polluters
for their emissions they'll be more likely to take action to reduce
them, for example by shifting investment into cleaner
Sounds good in theory, but, WE NEED A TARGET! Setting an
emissions reduction target is a simple, logical and critical step
in preventing dangerous climate change. It means everyone has
something to aim for. Putting in place climate policies with no
associated reduction target is like driving round in a car with no
destination in mind.
That's why Greenpeace is asking not only the Labour-led
Government but all political parties to set a target of 30 per cent
reductions by 2020 for New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.
This target would bring us into line with more progressive
nations who have already committed to similar targets and will help
ensure we make the cuts that science shows are needed to avoid the
worst climate impacts.
Our politicians cannot claim to be serious about tackling
climate change without putting in place a strong emission reduction
Agriculture's Climate Challenge
The catch is, a target of 30 per cent by 2020 cannot be reached
without help from the agriculture sector, and the government has
exempted it from the ETS until 2013.
The agricultural sector has an opportunity to lead the world in
low greenhouse emission farming through the adoption of best
practice measures that are already available and starting to be
implemented on farms in New Zealand. Being clean and green is
starting to count when a product hits shelves overseas and all our
exporters should be doing everything they can to corner and
monopolise that high end of the market. Some farmers could even
eventually make money out of selling credits for their good
But in order to get there, the industry must take responsibility
for their massive contribution to New Zealand's skyrocketing
emissions. They need to come in to the emissions trading scheme
within two years.
Most kiwis want real action on climate change. All of us -
individuals, communities, businesses, and agricultural producers -
need to contribute to the emission reduction effort. This is vital
in order to REALLY tackle climate change.
Get our action alerts and keep updated on the Rainbow Warrior's tour.
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