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Auckland Conversations asks hard questions on greenhouse emissions

Published: 20 October 2017

More than 500 people attended Auckland Conversations on 19 October to hear a range of expert views on how New Zealand’s economy will need to evolve in response to climate change.

The event, ‘Future-proofing the New Zealand economy’, was a panel discussion on the transformative change needed to respond to climate change, and was facilitated by Kim Hill.

It was held in partnership with the Ministry for the Environment and StatsNZ to mark the launch of their new report ‘Our Atmosphere and Climate 2017’.

Steep rise in greenhouse gas emissions

The report details that New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions rose 24 per cent from 1990 to 2015. The main activities responsible for the highest number and greatest growth in greenhouse gas emissions are agriculture, energy generation and transport.

Agriculture made up almost half our emissions (48 per cent) in 2015, reflecting the important role of the agriculture sector in New Zealand’s economy.  Road transport, while responsible for 18 per cent of emissions, is increasing rapidly, with a 78 per cent increase in emissions since 1990.

This is the case in Auckland too, where emissions look quite different from the national picture and where transport accounts for 40 per cent of the total. Hard questions were put to the panel about land use and transport and how to ensure that we don't leave people behind in making the transition to a lower emissions economy fair and just. 

Societal response to climate change is urgent

What was very clear is that everyone, from individuals and business to cities and government, will have to contribute to make a difference. That means individual decisions and leveraging our collective impact, but it also means tackling the really big decisions like the form of our city and its development, the quality of our built environment and major infrastructure like transport.

It means helping to shape the new government's net zero emissions goal, but it also means a more aware and engaged Auckland that sets and sustains expectations for action and solutions from all sectors. 

The event was available to viewers and listeners through the Auckland Conversations live stream, and gave rise to some lively online discussion. It is currently available on demand on the Auckland Conversations website and Ministry for the Environment Facebook page.

Find out more

Read more about sustainability and how to future-proof the economy in the recent Auckland Sustainability Quarterly from Auckland Council's Chief Sustainability Officer, John Mauro.

For information on sustainable living, get some tips here.