He Pou a Rangi – the Climate Change Commission has proposed a plan for Aotearoa to tackle climate change earlier this month. New Zealand is not on track to do its fair share of global efforts, but doing our fair share is achievable if we start now.
I encourage the Commission to be more ambitious in its draft advice to the Government on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. I support:
- Doing our fair share. We must make a stronger global commitment to cutting our emissions and helping developing countries. New Zealand's targets should reflect our economic status, ability to take action, and high current and historical per-capita emissions.
- Cutting emissions first. A commitment to faster emissions reductions must come ahead of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We need a transformation to a clean green economy, and that means producing and consuming things without generating greenhouse gases. The Commission needs to support faster emission reductions than its draft plan proposes.
- Nature-first emission reductions. The methods used to cut emissions must protect our native plants and animals. This means no new big hydro, stopping mining on conservation land, and ensuring new wind farms, biofuel production and transport infrastructure don’t harm nature.
- Better land use. Marginal and erodible land needs to be returned to native forests and shrublands, regenerative farming is needed to cut emissions, and there should be fewer cows.
- Help nature help us. The Climate Change Commission needs to place more emphasis on wetlands, blue carbon, shrublands, mangroves, and pest control. Once emissions are reduced, we will still need to remove carbon dioxide from the air to stabilise the climate. Nature can help us do this, but only if we protect it.
- Helping each other. We need a just transition that helps communities and workforces to adjust, makes sure vulnerable people are not left behind, ensures new technology and ways of working are available to all, and gives effect to the Treaty of Waitangi.