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The chairman of the climate commission, Dr. Rod Carr says we need to transform the economy to meet our climate change goals. According to insurance broker Aon in its annual report this week, there were $ 50 billion worth of weather disasters in 2020, the largest total recorded after adjusting for inflation. PHOTOS: ODT FILES / SCOPE OF DELIVERY

Tom McKinlay writes that what must be done against climate change can no longer be avoided.

In the latest science fiction novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, the head of a new international agency, the Ministry for the Future, Convince the world to step back from the brink of climate chaos.

Set in the near future, the novel is hardly fictional given the catastrophes now looming in different parts of the world as the planet warms. Drought, fire and flood.

And in the story of KSR, the head of the ministry, a Mary Murphy, is busy convincing the central banks of the world to only issue currencies when they are supported by carbon reductions . Even capital has to start taking care of it.

Back in New Zealand, the head of the newly formed Climate Change Commission, the closest thing to a ministry for the future, says that all of our spending and investment decisions are now looking through a lens of climate change should be.

The man in this special hot place, in our very real gift, is Dr. Rod Carr, a former banker and Vice Chancellor of Canterbury University. He has admitted that he was late on climate change, but in public statements he seems to make up for the lost time.

« The clock is ticking, it is clear that action will be needed, » he said recently / p> The adjectives associated with expectation include « shocking » – that was Climate Protection Secretary James Shaw’s best guess – « challenging » and « confronting ». These latter two adjectives come from someone who is well able to predict its tenor.

It will at least be sobering. New Zealand has become a climate protector. A recent assessment by the OECD found New Zealand to be in second place in terms of countries’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Only Turkey was worse.

Here again Dr. Carr: « There is no doubt that transforming our economy from a high-carbon, high-carbon, and totally unsustainable technological and economic structure to a thriving, climate-resilient, low-carbon future will cost us. »

Right where the Should the burden drop is one of the areas the Commission would like feedback on.

Once it publishes its advice tomorrow, there will be a six-week consultation period after which the final advisory package will be sent to the government.

Loud According to the latest « Emissions Gap Report » from the United Nations Environment Program, the planet is currently well on the way to warming more than 3 ° C in this century.

Under the Paris Agreement, New Zealand’s « Nationally Determined Contribution » (NDC ) on global climate protection measures to reduce our emissions by around 11% compared to 1990. We are not on track to achieve this.

Many countries have already made more ambitious commitments, and we are likely to do the same at a United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow later this year.

Europe did is now committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 55% within a decade from 40% compared to 1990.

The most recent recommendation by the UK Climate Action Committee is to cut emissions by 78% between 1990 and 2035 and revise previous plans Pushing 15 years.

The pressure to achieve such goals was increased recently when the new US President Joe Biden promised to impose carbon fees on states that do not.

 » I think fair share is really good conversation for New Zealanders, « he said. « We are a prosperous, developed nation. The affluent nations with higher per capita incomes have a responsibility to do more than average. »

Recent research has found that the world’s remaining carbon budget is increasing to heat up to 1.5 ° C, is 440 billion tons. On this basis, global greenhouse gas emissions must drop to zero by around 2040 for a 50% chance of success. With a 67% probability, the researchers estimate, total CO2 emissions cannot exceed 230 billion tons, which means that net emissions will be zero by 2030.

« Our NDC, and you don’t have to be an Einstein, to clarify, doesn’t mean reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius. It’s not nearly like that, « he says from his home in Queenstown.

Dr. Salinger, co-chair of the organization Wise Response, has long been a voice for climate action. He says the time has passed when we could have approached the problem one step at a time.

« We have been swaying since 1990. The luxury of doing it step by step is long gone.

The Auckland climate change researcher University of Technology, David Hall, will investigate where the commission starts to draw a steeper line on the emissions reduction graph.

For example, it might recommend slightly smaller cuts by 2025 while guidelines are in place, and then a steeper one Line through 2030 and beyond.

Hall cites the work of former Landcare Research scientist Robbie Andrew, who estimated that every year if the world doesn’t cut emissions, it consumes more than 10% of our remaining budget / p> Andrew has estimated that we are currently aiming for an average CO2 reduction of 18% per year worldwide and probably need to actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

The esteemed Prof. Robert McLachlan of Massey University says the Commission is likely to tighten our Paris Agreement target and base its carbon budget recommendations on achieving that target.

He suggests that a 30% reduction in gross emissions could be recommended by 2030 – just before what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes is necessary but feasible. The current target is a 30% reduction in net emissions, which is less of a challenge.

Salinger, Hall and McLachlan all say that transport is likely to be a particular target for emissions reductions, with an emphasis on a rapid switch to electricity.

Prof. McLachlan adds that we cannot work our way out of the pine forest problem, we actually need to cut emissions.

Perhaps in anticipation of the Commission’s advice, the government announced several measures this week to reduce tailpipe emissions, including a « clean car import standard » to be introduced next year and plans for zero-emission public buses from 2025.

There is currently a lot of research going on on climate change – what the problem is and what to do is. In fact, Dr. Carr his journey of getting everything under control than drinking from a fire hose.

Below is a report that was commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and published in December last year: A safe operating room for New Zealand / Aotearoa.

« New Zealand exceeds its national share of the global climate limit by more than a factor of 5 for production-related emissions and by a factor of 6.5 for consumption-related emissions, » says the report.

The annual per capita An average New Zealander’s 7.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions are a multiple of the 1.85 tonnes the world can afford each of us.

At a rate of 7.3 tonnes, we are getting our fair share of the budget of the Blasting planets – to further warm us to the less ambitious target of 2 ° C by 2038.

The report proposes halving our emissions by 2030, halving them again by 2040 and half a third by 2050, to achieve a climate-neutral target.

The climate researcher says that if we want to warm up further to 1.5 ° C, the emissions that we would produce under normal conditions by around 2030 must now be the total amount that we have up to 2050.

« I am hopeful for New Zealand, » said Prof. Renwick in a recent webinar. « We have a small economy, we can act fast, we have a lot of renewable resources. I think New Zealand is well placed to be a world leader in this area and hopefully an inspiration and guide for other nations – ultimately a center for The technologies we need and the guidelines we need to get zero emissions. « 

In the near future of the Department for the Future, Mary Murphy is assembling her team and asking for her solutions. Carbon negative agriculture, they say, clean energy, landscape restoration, the list goes on. The guidelines should include carbon prices, industrial efficiency standards, land use guidelines, emissions regulations for industrial processes, fuel consumption standards and electrification, and better public transport.

The Climate Commission came to be known as the Zero Carbon Act under the Climate Change Act Zero Carbon Act, established.

Its job is to « provide independent and competent advice to the government on how to curb climate change … and adapt to the effects of climate change ».

New Zealand has until 2025 a preliminary carbon budget of 354 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e), which was set as part of the reform of the emissions trading system and leaves room for only about 250 million tonnes in the second half of the decade if we want to achieve our existing goal of the Paris Agreement. </ The Commission will provide carbon budgets for three periods. until 2025, the five years until 2030 and the following five years until 2035.

It is also discussed how the emissions budget « can realistically be met, also through pricing and political methods ».

It must also  » take into account the need for emissions budgets that are ambitious but likely to be technically and economically feasible « .

While the Commission can recommend that the country meet some of its carbon budget commitments by purchasing international offsets, members of the Commission have made it clear that they are not in favor of this approach.

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