The recent Government public consultation on a proposed target (or INDC) for the Paris round of talks on Climate Change highlights one of the most pressing issues of our time. Living Streets Aotearoa has recognised this with not one but two submissions on the proposal, one from the national executive and one from the Wellington group.
New Zealand may be a small part of the global GHG emission but we are a high per capita emitter. Living Streets Aotearoa has a clear position on where New Zealand should be aiming:
Reaching zero net emissions by 2050 or by whatever date the remaining carbon budget of approximately 900Mt (to keep tempmerature rise below 2º C ) is emitted.
We were interested to see the Government approach to transport in the discussion document. Living Streets is clear that we need:
To decrease transport emissions, foremost by decreasing the need for travel through city design, getting a higher proportion of trips taken by active and public modes, and only finally by shifting to energy sources such as electricity.
Walking is the least cost way of getting around in economic and environmental terms, but also the least promoted, funded, and accounted for. This needs to change if we are to address climate change successfully.
We submit that a credible approach to greenhouse gas reduction must include a full analysis of issues and opportunities by sector, including transport as one of the big two emitters, and including the effects on emissions production of other government policies. This analysis needs to identify measures that will make a significant contribution to emissions reduction across the whole transport sector.
Time to act now.