Saturday, November 27

The Council faces a sharp increase in its carbon reduction target

A report to the Wellington City Council shows that the city needs to reduce more carbon than previously anticipated by the end of this decade.

pollution of car exhaust gases in the city in the winter.  Car smoke on a cold winter day

Wellington’s largest source sector is transportation, with just over 50 percent. (file photo)
Photo: 123RF

The capital now needs to reduce 57 percent of its carbon emissions by 2030, as part of its plan to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The new goals report does not yet establish a map of how the city will reduce the additional carbon, and the original calculations still predict that the city will fall short.

But the council says there are still projects to consider.

It has been more than two years since Te Atakura was adopted, when the city council declared a climate and ecological emergency and committed to the 2050 goal.

In August 2020, the council adopted the Te Atakura Implementation Plan, which sets out plans for how emissions could be reduced by 2050.

Last night, councilors voted to increase their goal to align with up-to-date international science and methodologies, particularly in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this year.

A further 200,000 tonnes of carbon needs to be cut to achieve a 57 percent reduction in the decade.

With projects currently calculated, there are still 36 percent of carbon cuts unaccounted for, although councilors have said there are a number of pending cuts to consider.

Councilor Tamatha Paul, who has the Climate Change portfolio, agrees that more needs to be done sooner, but the outlook remains promising, she said.

“From 2000 to last year we have not had the most structured plan to go to net zero. But even without that plan, we have managed to reduce our emissions by 7 percent. To me, that says, ‘if that’s without any effort, what can we do when we are putting all our energy and resources into this transition? ‘”he said.

Wellington City Councilor Tamatha Paul.

Councilor Tamatha Paul, who has the Climate Change portfolio.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Wellington’s largest source sector is transportation, with just over 50 percent.

Councilors voted yesterday to build a $ 226 million, 147 km bike network across the city over the next 10 years. Estimated carbon reductions have yet to be calculated for the historical bike budget.

Key public transportation improvements as part of Let’s Get Wellington Moving are likely to do the same.

The City Council has signaled through the Te Atakura update that other initiatives will help, such as the Climate Laboratory, which aims to collaborate with local businesses to help reduce their emissions.

The report said collaborations with the Climate Lab will begin this year.

Ralph Chapman, Associate Professor at Wellington Victoria University School of Environmental Studies, said that even with these upcoming projects, the goal is overblown, but cannot be ruled out.

“[Council is] making a long-term investment here, and you want a pretty ambitious goal, in principle. But it is quite difficult to achieve a particular short-term goal like 2030, which is now only eight years away, is quite close. “

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster told the Planning and Environment committee that in the coming months there is an opportunity to “do everything possible.”

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