Over 1000 people have signed an open letter demanding that 40 key decision-makers take decisive action in decarbonising Auckland’s transport by 2030. The letter is backed by a number of climate advocacy groups, and marks the start of a long running campaign to future proof Auckland and limit global warming to less than 1.5°C.
“Allowing the status quo - climate inaction - is in fact direct action towards an unsustainable future in which our children face severe environmental degradation and exponentially rising costs,” says Jenny Cooper from Lawyers for Climate Action.
New Zealand has committed to climate change action under both the Paris Agreement and the Zero Carbon Act. With just nine years left to halve our emissions to preserve the chance of keeping warming below 1.5°C, Tāmaki Makaurau-based advocacy groups Generation Zero, Lawyers for Climate Action, Bike Auckland, Greater Auckland, The 1Point5 Project, and Women in Urbanism joined forces to address the lack of policy alignment with these commitments. All of the work done by these groups over the past several years fits into this renewed joint effort to #DecarboniseTransportBy2030. Since the release of the letter a number of other organisations have signed on including School Strike 4 Climate, Inspiring Stories and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
The call to decarbonise transport in Auckland by 2030 is backed by research conducted by Dr. Paul Winton of The 1Point5 Project. The research highlights that the near-complete decarbonisation of transport in New Zealand by 2030 is the single most important action that will lead us towards a 1.5°C compliant future.
“The really exciting thing about road transportation is that the solutions already exist around the world today. We know how to get more people on buses and trains, we know how to accelerate the uptake of EVs, cycling and micro-mobility, and we know how to change cities so that they're easier to get around. All of the solutions are already out there. We just need to take a pick ‘n’ mix of them and deploy them here in New Zealand” says Dr. Paul Winton from The 1Point5 Project.
The letter explains the moral and legal rationale behind holding 40 key decision makers accountable to act on climate change. The full list includes the Minister of Transport and Chief Executive of the Ministry of Transport, the Mayor of Auckland, the CEO and Councillors of Auckland Council, the Auckland Transport Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors and Chief Executive of Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency.
“These are the key decision-makers who have the collective power to achieve this change. In effect, their decisions will determine whether New Zealand and Auckland can meet their 1.5°C commitments or not,” says Katrina from Generation Zero.
Key asks from the letter include - among others - the reduction of traffic volumes, prioritisation of active and public transport modes, and decarbonisation and reduction of the vehicle fleet, with a more technical document being prepared to accompany the letter.
“We are seeing transport infrastructure like the Harbour Bridge being upgraded and decisions made around us right now - this is the moment where we can build on this work to ensure a 1.5°C future.” says Nola from Generation Zero, “The movement behind the decarbonisation of transport by 2030 is quickly gaining steam. If there’s one thing we must act on today for a healthy climate tomorrow, this is it. Those who have the power to enact this change must be informed and must be held accountable. Today marks the first step on that journey. “
This campaign is co-led by Generation Zero Auckland, The 1point5 Project, Bike Auckland, Greater Auckland and Lawyers for Climate Action.
About Generation Zero:
Over 25,000 young New Zealanders working to cut carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities & independence from fossil fuels.
Generation Zero campaign co-leads: David Robertson & Nola Smart