Climate change strategy submissions close on Sunday

Newspaper Published Source
The New Zealand Herald 2021-02-08 Link

Transport made up 24 per cent of the Whanganui District's total emissions in 2019. Photo / File Multimedia journalist Submissions on Whanganui District Council's draft Climate Change Strategy/Te Rautaki Huringa Āhuarangi close on Sunday. The council wants to know residents' views about the proposed road map to transition Whanganui towards a low-carbon economy. The council formulated the draft strategy, which lays out both the district's mitigation and adaptation approaches, in response to the government's implementation of the Zero Carbon Act, which puts into law targets to reach nationwide net-zero emissions by 2050. The strategy also follows both the council's district-wide climate emergency declaration a year ago this week, as well as Parliament's nationwide declaration late last year . In the document, figures show in 2019 Whanganui emitted a net total of 779,736 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Agricultural emissions made up 57 per cent of those emissions, transport 24 per cent and stationary energy 14 per cent. The strategy emphasises that while the planet is already on a path towards climate change that is too late to mitigate, there is still time to reduce the degree to which the planet warms. According to the report, the likely impacts of climate change to be seen within Whanganui include an average temperature rise of 0.8 degrees by 2050, with a 1.8 degree rise by 2100. This will mean warmer summer days and earlier spring melts. Rainfall is also expected to increase exponentially, with annual precipitation rising 1 per cent by 2050, with winter rainfall up 6 per cent. The frequency and magnitude of storm-related events will increase and there will also be a notable increase in erosion. The draft strategy adopts the same targets as that of the Zero Carbon Act, including reducing net carbon emissions for the district to zero by 2050, reducing net carbon by 30 per cent by 2030 and reducing emissions of biogenic methane to 24 to 47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050. The draft strategy also lays out seven pages of "possible actions", including enabling more central business district living, developing a district food plan, educating farmers to understand their carbon footprint, and converting the council vehicle fleet to electric. Some other suggestions put forward for residents to adopt include replacing grass lawns with native plants to conserve water, having showers after 9pm when there is less fossil-fuel generated electricity, and planting their own vegetables and fruit trees. The draft strategy is set to go back to the council table after public submissions close on Sunday, February 14. Copies of the strategy can be found online at www.whanganui.govt.nz or at the council offices. Submissions can be made online.