Greater Wellington wants action on the Emissions Reduction Plan

  • Published Date 13 Oct 2021
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Greater Wellington is urging the regional team of half a million people to actively respond to the Government’s just-released National Emissions Reduction Plan, which outlines a proposed framework to meet the emissions budgets required to limit greenhouse gases.

“This proposed framework shows we can achieve our goal of staying in line with 1.5 degrees of warming. Its importance can’t be overestimated, as it foreshadows the transformational change that will have a lasting impact on all areas of our daily lives,” says Cr. Thomas Nash, chair of Greater Wellington’s Climate Committee.

“This is where things get real, we have to break through Greta Thunberg’s ‘blah blah’ critique and start making the tough calls that will shape a safe future for all of us.

“This plan will lay the foundations of the lives we are going to live if we are to avert the climate crisis that scientists have forecast. The proposals are out for consultation today and the more of us that submit on the plan, the better.

“We really need emissions to peak within the next couple of years and then start rapidly declining. The emissions reduction plan is our best chance to make that happen.”

The regional council will highlight a number of crucial areas in its submission which, it believes, will continue to contribute to meeting the Government’s climate change commitments.

Greater Wellington sees major emission reduction opportunities in the Wellington region in transport, urban design and natural infrastructure. That means much more public transport and less dependence on cars; higher density living with high quality apartments and terraced houses that enable people to live easily without cars; and a flourishing natural environment that soaks up and stores carbon.

Work is well underway to convert Metlink’s bus fleet to electric and even bigger emissions reduction will come from more government investment to expand public transport.

“Meeting future climate goals will require more than buying electric buses. We need a massive expansion in a bus and rail fleet, low or perhaps in some cases no fares, and relevant and reliable services. This way we can provide the carrot for mode shift, while restrictions on unnecessary use of private cars will provide the stick,” says Cr Nash.

“Walking and cycling will play a big part as transport norms of the future, encouraged by more compact cities served by public transport that encourages mode shift. Initiatives like the Let’s Get Wellington Moving transport corridor for urban development will be essential in fostering more compact suburbs with high quality new homes and green spaces.”

Greater Wellington’s focus on expanding natural infrastructure in its regional parks – such as native restoration and wetlands – through its Low Carbon Acceleration Fund will also play a role in emissions reduction by storing carbon and providing a buffer against the increased droughts and flooding we can expect in our changing climate.

The first planting and restoration projects under the fund are already in train at Queen Elizabeth Park and Battle Hill Farm Park, and grazing is progressively being phased out.

Collective action from Greater Wellington, local authorities, central government agencies and Iwi will continue under the Wellington Regional Growth Framework, which is a critical part of the region’s action on climate.

Work under this framework will include regional emissions reduction plans; planning for and managing climate change impacts; providing for east-west access across the region; scaling up housing and resilient infrastructure. In all of this the Regional Growth Framework will need to ensure that the projects and initiatives that flow from it do not lock in emissions for the future. 

“Collective action is vital. No single organisation can pull all the climate action levers on its own. We must work together as a region to reduce emissions, build the right infrastructure that will stand the test of time, and adapt to the impacts we know are coming.

“If we do all of these things well, we will go a long way to delivering the proposals in the government’s framework for a national emissions reduction plan.

“We want to see the widest possible public feedback on the proposed emissions reduction framework so that the Government hears from communities throughout the region that now is the time to act on climate,” says Cr Nash.

Updated October 13, 2021 at 4:04 PM

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