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Forest & Bird: driving 500m melts 1kg of glacier ice

Forest & Bird: driving 500m melts 1kg of glacier ice

At the event Climate 2050: discussing Wellington’s future this evening Forest & Bird climate advocate Adelia Hallett highlighted new research showing that every 500 metres we drive melts at least one kilogram of glacier ice.

“This brings home the reality that even small decisions make a difference to New Zealand’s natural environment. If you can bicycle or walk 500 metres instead of driving, you have saved a kilogram of glacier ice,” says Ms Hallett.

“But individuals can’t make good decisions without the right support or infrastructure. To the politicians here this evening, I say: show us the bike lanes and electric trains,” she adds.

The research, by climate scientists at the Universities of Bremen and Innsbruck, looked at how much mountain glaciers would melt under various climate scenarios. They showed that the world has already committed to losing more than a third of its mountain glacier ice. How much more is lost depends on our actions now.

“Glaciers are highly visible symbols of climate change,” says Ms Hallett. “But each of those kilograms of glacier ice also translates into other effects: more inundation of low lying areas by the sea, ocean acidification, extreme weather events, and pressure on native species.”

The Climate 2050 event packed out the City Gallery in Wellington from 6.00pm-7.30pm this evening, with attendees including the Minister of Climate Change James Shaw as well as Regional and City Council representatives and MPs from across the political spectrum. Discussion focused on the difference between 1.5 and 4 degrees of warming by the end of this century for the Wellington region, including for the region’s wildlife.

“What we all do now makes a huge difference to the world we’re going to be living in by the turn of the century,” says Ms Hallett. “People or penguins, we’re all in this together.”

Note:
1. More information about the research by the Universities of Bremen and Innsbruck can be found here.


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