Source: Radio New Zealand, 4 November 2016
The international Paris Agreement to combat climate change
comes into force today but the United Nations warns an urgent
further 25 percent cut off predicted emissions by 2030 will be
It's been almost a year since
195 nations formally agreed to aim at keeping the average rise in
the global temperatures to well below 2°C.
New Zealand, which
ratified the deal last month, has committed to a target of
reducing emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
However, the UN
Environment Report released today said even with the
current Paris pledges, the world was still heading for a
temperature rise between 2.9° and 3.4° this century.
Emissions by 2030 are expected to reach 54 to 56 gigatonnes of
carbon dioxide equivalent, which the report said was far above the
42 gigatonne maximum needed to limit warming to 2° this
It said a gigatonne was roughly equivalent to the emissions
generated by transport in the European Union, including aviation,
over a year.
Last year was the hottest since modern record keeping began, and
with the trend continuing, the UN said this reinforced the need for
It said scientists agreed that limiting global warming to below
2° this century would reduce the likelihood of more-intense storms,
longer droughts, sea-level rise and other severe climate
Even hitting a lower target of 1.5 would only reduce, rather
than eliminate, impacts.
Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett, who took over the
portfolio just after the Paris Agreement got over the line, said
getting an international agreement on that scale was momentous.
New Zealand has committed to a target of reducing emissions to
30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, which has led to criticism
from some who believe it is not ambitious enough.
Ministry for the Environment climate change director Kay
told a conference last month the cost for New Zealand to
meet it its obligations would be $72 billion, or nearly 30 percent
of New Zealand's annual GDP.
Victoria University climate scientist James Renwick said the
agreement coming into force was the biggest ever step forward in
terms of international agreements on emissions reductions.
He said while agricultural emissions was a big focus in New
Zealand, more could be done to tackle the transport and energy
sectors - which could advance New Zealand's emissions reductions
much faster than the government was planning on.
"On the international scale we're in the bottom half of
achievers, I'd say, in terms of what we're promising to do. We
could be doing a lot better."
Generation Zero policy spokesperson Paul Young said no one had
been expecting it to come into force so soon, which was a good sign
of global momentum, but New Zealand was behind the tide in that
Mr Young said the essence of the Paris Agreement was countries
getting on a pathway to zero net greenhouse gas emissions in the
second half of the century.
"New Zealand's a long way off that, it's all about our domestic
policy response really and we've got a lot of ground to catch up on
Mr Young said he would like to see a strengthening in the price
of carbon, enforcing efficiency regulations for vehicles, and
incentivising more renewable energy - and not just for
Countries will meet in Morocco next month to discuss the Paris