Here's the statement Living Streets Aotearoa put out yesterday in response to the Prime Minister's announcement that transport emissions reductions would be made a lower priority in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle. We believe this approach is short-sighted and self-defeating. We're calling on the Government not to abandon its policies to reduce transport emissions.
Dropping The Ball On Emissions Reductions Not The Answer To Climate Resilience
Living Streets Aotearoa, the national pedestrian advocacy organisation, today said that the Government’s plan to reduce spending on transport emissions reductions would only make the situation worse.
“When you’re in a hole,” said Living Streets Aotearoa President Tim Jones, “the answer is not to buy new shovels and keep digging. Yet that is what the Government seems to be proposing. The Government Policy Statement on Land Transport was going to focus on improving walking, cycling and public transport as the key ways of creating a better transport system, especially in our cities. Now this focus is set to be scrapped.”
“Isolated regions need transport links restored, but every decision to rebuild needs first to consider what is the best way to provide access – is it rail, road or sea?”
“A roading-dependent transport system is not a resilient system. The roading system has already failed catastrophically due to severe flooding caused by 1.2º of warming above pre-industrial levels. Without further steep emissions cuts, which the Government has committed to making, we are headed for at least 3º of warming and the terrible flooding and storm surges that it will lead to. There is no ‘new normal’ we can adapt to – the situation will just get worse and worse until emissions are cut.”
“Walking has higher resilience than other transport modes, and walkers are often still able to easily move around a city affected by flooding, slips or earthquake,” said Tim Jones. “So if the new focus is to be on resilience, improving walking should play a prominent part.”
“We call on the Government not to abandon its policies to reduce transport emissions in favour of a self-defeating road-building programme. It will be hideously expensive, it won’t work, and when it’s over, we’ll be even deeper in the hole than we were before,” Mr Jones concluded.