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Climate Change Commission offers ambitious, achievable plan for NZ

3 min read
Climate Change Commission

The draft released by Climate Change Commission advises the Government on the steps Aotearoa must take to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Photo for representational purpose. Photo: Markus Spiske | Unsplash

Forest & Bird congratulated He Pou a Rangi – the Climate Change Commission for delivering an “ambitious, achievable plan” to tackle climate change and endorsed its call for a stronger climate change target. The key takeaway from the report is that New Zealand is not on track to do its fair share of global efforts but that doing our fair share is achievable if we start now.

The independent Climate Change Commission released its first report on what New Zealand needs to do to tackle climate change and protect our future. It proposes a range of measures to meet New Zealand’s current targets and proposes increasing New Zealand’s overall target so that it contributes a fair share of global efforts.

“This plan will need to look after both people and nature. It will need to take a nature-first approach to getting rid of fossil fuels so that new renewable energy and storage doesn’t harm nature. It will need to provide a way for communities that have traditionally relied on mining coal, oil and gas to find other work,” said Geoff Keey, Forest & Bird strategic advisor.

“We are already seeing the effects of climate change. Recently 82 kororā little blue penguin chicks died of starvation on Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington Harbour when warmer harbour temperatures meant there wasn’t enough food for them. Fifty-four were discovered in just one day – a stark reminder that climate change is affecting nature now and we need to act to stop it getting worse.

“It’s time for the country to step up and do our fair share of the global effort to keep climate change below 1.5 degrees warming. We can no longer delay getting rid of coal, phasing our oil and gas, and cutting emissions from agriculture. Relying on pine plantations is just postponing the inevitable.

“Not only will ending coal mining reduce our emissions but it will also protect wild places from being destroyed.

“Getting rid of fossil fuels will need a nature-first approach to renewable energy that makes sure any new renewable generation and storage doesn’t come at the expense of already vulnerable wild and natural places.”

Keey added that the agriculture sector can reach its 2030 targets by changing the way it farms to become more efficient without any new technology or silver bullets.

“Farms across New Zealand, including the Lincoln University Dairy Farm have already demonstrated this. 

“The report shows that nature has a key role to play in offsetting emissions but that offsetting should no longer be used as a replacement for cutting emissions.”

“New Zealand has been postponing serious action on climate change since the late 1980s; we can postpone no longer.”

Commission chair Dr Rod Carr said the draft package of advice to the Government on the steps Aotearoa must take to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions is “ambitious but realistic and makes a clear case to Government for taking immediate and decisive action on climate change”.

“As a country we need transformational and lasting change to meet our targets and ensure a thriving Aotearoa for future generations.

“The good news is that our analysis shows there are technically achievable, economically affordable and socially acceptable paths for Aotearoa to take

“But the Government must move faster and support business, agriculture, and community to do the same.”

Public consultation on the draft advice began on 1 February and runs until 14 March 2021.

Details on how to make a submission or hear more from the Commission about its work can be found on

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