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Draft Emissions Reduction Plan Needs Strengthening With Suitable Emissions Targets

All Aboard Aotearoa Inc, a coalition of climate and transport advocacy groups, says the discussion document released by the government today for its draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) is headed in the right direction, but won’t achieve the systemic change necessary for our commitments under the Zero Carbon Act to contribute to keep warming below 1.5C.

“The science is indisputable: we need to reduce CO - equivalent emissions in 2021 by well over 70% by 2030 if we are to pull our weight internationally in line with agreed IPCC climate science. Yet the government is proposing reductions of less than a third of this, and most of that drop is happening in the second budget period,” says Dr Paul Winton, a spokesperson for All Aboard. “This reflects a failure to act in the best interest of current and future generations of people. These plans will make it very hard for New Zealand to hold its own in COP26 and future international discussions”, Dr Winton says.

Transport needs to lead decarbonisation in Aotearoa. The fruits of engagement earlier this year via the Ministry of Transport green paper “Hīkina te Kohupara - Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050” are apparent in the transport section of the current draft Emissions Reductions Plan. All Aboard Aotearoa made a submission on the Ministry of Transport’s green paper and is heartened by the government’s steady improvement in transport policy planning. These improvements reflect the hard work by people within government, the sector, and advocates.

However, the overall transport sector emissions targets are still woefully inadequate. “Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland's Climate Plan has a target of a 64% reduction in transport emissions by 2030; there’s no reason the Government should be holding them back on this. The plan’s great list of decarbonisation tools, like low traffic neighbourhoods and road reallocation, can be implemented rapidly and scaled up. Other tools are missing or barely mentioned in the plan, such as parking levies and fundamental changes to parking management. And while it’s good to see a target for vehicle km travelled (VKT) reductions, the halving of this target between the Ministry of Transport’s green paper and the draft ERP is disappointing. More ambitious reductions targets in the ERP would provide the missing key: robust direction to officials to use every lever available immediately,” says Heidi O’Callahan, a member of All Aboard.

All Aboard Aotearoa has shown that transport is the sector in which we can make the biggest emissions reductions in a relatively short time – creating better, more liveable cities along the way. To achieve these people-friendly changes, though, the transport sector will need to overhaul planning - including what gets measured, how traffic is modelled, how investments are evaluated and what risk management even means today.

“Government has the opportunity to lead a modern, democratic, national conversation about how we will meet our international climate commitments. But to ensure this mandated climate action is then implemented swiftly, the current consultation processes - which often serve to undermine democracy - will need to be right-sized and streamlined,” says O’Callahan.

All Aboard Aotearoa is the group behind recent Court proceedings against Auckland Transport and Auckland Council in relation to the Auckland regional land transport plan, which the group says unlawfully fails to achieve emissions reductions, and against Waka Kotahi/NZTA and the Government in relation to Mill Road.

About All Aboard Aotearoa

All Aboard Aotearoa Inc is a coalition of climate and transport advocacy groups, including Generation Zero, Bike Auckland, Movement, Women in Urbanism, Greenpeace, Lawyers for Climate Action NZ and others. All Aboard Aotearoa is calling for decarbonisation of transport by 2030 because this is the best way for Aotearoa to contribute to the global effort to limit warming to 1.5C. It also provides a unique opportunity to re-think our transport system with the potential for significant intergenerational benefits for health, quality of life, and social equity as well as environmental benefits.

All Aboard Aotearoa has filed Court proceedings against Auckland Transport and Auckland Council in relation to a recently adopted land transport plan that fails to provide for any meaningful reduction in carbon emissions. This follows a submission on the Regional Land Transport Plan and a presentation to the Auckland Council Planning Committee to highlight the key messages of the All Aboard Aotearoa campaign and the steps Council needs to take.

The coalition have also penned an open letter to the Minister of Transport, the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Transport, the Mayor, Chief Executive and Councillors of Auckland Council, and the Boards of Directors and Chief Executives of Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport calling for urgent transformation of the transport system. Follow All Aboard on Twitter here.

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