Forest & Bird is calling on all political parties to say what they will do to accelerate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions following the release of data by Statistics New Zealand which shows a small decrease in emissions of 1.8 percent in the December 2022 quarter, and a reduction of 3.1 percent in 2022 overall.
Forest & Bird’s climate spokesperson, Geoff Keey says that although this is a downward trend, it is nowhere near enough to be our fair share of global climate action.
“In an election year marked by severe storms and global heatwaves, New Zealanders need all political parties to show us they can lead the country through the challenges posed by climate change,” Mr Keey says.
“In 2023, Kiwis have gained a real sense of what climate change means for them with severe storms battering the upper North Island. We now need to see what political leaders are offering to do to cut emissions and protect communities from the worst impacts of climate change.”
Recently, Karsten Haustein, a research fellow in atmospheric radiation at Leipzig University was quoted in the Guardian as saying: “The chances are that the month of July will be the hottest month ever … ‘ever’ meaning since the Eemian [interglacial period], which is some 120,000 years ago.” While the New Scientist reported on 7 July: “the record for the hottest average global air temperature was broken three times this week, making the past seven days the hottest since instrumental records began in the 1850s.”
Cyclone Gabrielle has shown how seriously poor management of erodible land, and building too close to rivers, impacts communities. Nature can help protect us from climate change, but we need to protect nature first.
“Political parties need to commit to cutting New Zealand’s emissions, increasing the storage of carbon in native forests, wetlands and in the sea, and protecting communities from severe climate change events,” Mr Keey says.
“Restoring forests and wetlands and creating room for rivers to flow naturally will help protect communities from the future impact of severe weather, like Cyclone Gabrielle.”
Forest & Bird is part of a coalition of more than 40 organisations that has developed Climate Shift, a ten-point plan for climate action, guided by three key themes:
- Real emissions reductions
- Supporting frontline communities
- Restoring & rewilding nature