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NEW ZEALAND’S CLIMATE TARGETS WILL NOT BE EASILY ACHIEVED

New document from the New Zealander government says achieving post-2020 climate targets will be a big challenge, and the country will need international carbon market access.

In May, the government of New Zealand released a consultation document regarding its post-2020 climate targets, and stressed the costs the country would have to bear to cut greenhouse gas emissions; specifically, the document asserts that – for the same cost as the European Union’s 40% reduction from 1990 to 2030 – New Zealand’s emissions would grow 10-20%.

Nowadays an average New Zealander emits 17 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, while the world average is 8 tonnes, and half of the country’s emissions originate from the agricultural sector, which is quite unusual for a developed country. The copious forests present within New Zealand’s territory have so far efficiently worked as carbon sinks, but most of them are expected to be harvested over the next 15 years, so the government will have to come up with an alternative solution.

New Zealand’s climate minister Tim Groser said that the country faces “particular challenges, and setting an emissions reduction target will not be easy”, especially given that 80% of the state’s electricity already come from renewables sources of energy. Developing electric vehicles and biofuels could help achieving climate goals, but the minister believes that eventually New Zealand will need international carbon market access. The nation is already largely relying on its emissions trading system to meet its target of a 5% emissions cut by 2020.

The most criticised part of the consultation is the one related to costs. The government estimated the cost to households of cuts between 5% and 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels to range from NZ$1,270 to $1,800 a year, or 1-2% of the forecast NZ$85,000 average income under business as usual; however, Russel Norman from the Green party stated that the document is “unbalanced and inaccurate”, and that “the government has written a consultation document to suit its head-in-the-sand approach to protecting our economy and environment from the threat of climate change”. Norman also urged the country to “at least” match the EU goal of a 40% emissions cut by 2030.

New Zealand is expected to submit its national climate plan to the UN within the next months.

 

 

The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Friday, 8 May 2015

(Source: RTCC)