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Forest & Bird is calling for ambitious climate action to protect natural ecosystems in tandem with eliminating fossil fuels, following the release of the Climate Commission’s report this morning.   

“The Climate Commission confirms there are two parts to the climate response the Government must design – reduce emissions, and restore natural ecosystems,” says Forest & Bird spokesperson Geoff Keey. 

“Nature must be at the heart of New Zealand’s climate response. The methods used to cut emissions must protect our native plants and animals, which will then help protect us.”  

“Natural ecosystems are fundamentally important allies in Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate response. Our industries, regulators, and urban planners have to be better at working with nature, not against it.  

“It should not be necessary to state that native forests, the country’s largest carbon store, need to be restored – as should all Aotearoa New Zealand’s critically depleted ecosystems.   

“It is equally important that we stop pumping emissions into the atmosphere. ‘Coal, cars, and cows’ have always been the source of New Zealand’s emissions and we need to tackle all three.”  

Forest & Bird is calling for:  

  • Rules and incentives to protect natural carbon storage in forests and wetlands.  
  • Ocean management to be overhauled to protect ecosystems and natural carbon stores.  
  • A requirement for new renewable electricity infrastructure to protect natural ecosystems – no more Manapouri and Mokihinui style projects of the past.  
  • An end to mining on public conservation land.  
  • Bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme.
  • Unforested public conservation stewardship land to be restored as a matter of national urgency.  
  • No new coal mines anywhere in New Zealand.  
  • Marginal and erodible land to be returned to native forests and shrublands.  
  • Incentives for regenerative farming, to cut agricultural emissions and decrease the national herd size.  
  • More compact urban areas, with massive investment in public and active transport services and infrastructure.  

"When nature thrives, New Zealand communities will thrive. The Government must ramp up its ambitions and activities to end the use of fossil fuels, transform land use, protect and restore natural carbon storage in forests, wetlands, and the ocean, and help communities to make the changes needed," says Mr Keey.

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