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WWF-New Zealand: New NDCs Are A Slap In The Face

These new NDCs will not keep global temperatures to a 1.5C degrees of warming with decades of inaction set to continue.

31 October 2021

Instead of actually delivering ambitious NDCs or even merely adequate NDCs, this government has only tinkered with the methodology to make the NDCs look better than they really are. New Zealanders will not be fooled by clever accounting.

While WWF welcomes any commitment to increase emissions reductions, this is simply not good enough. Why? Because our previous NDCs were not sufficient enough to keep global temperatures to 1.5C degrees and neither are these new ones. New Zealand is not doing its “fair share”.

“Today’s announcement is a slap in the face. For decades, successive governments have been all talk and no action. Before today, WWF rated New Zealand’s NDCs as one of the five countries with NDCs ‘we don’t want’. Today’s announcement means, Aotearoa New Zealand is now rated as having a ‘long way to go’. It may technically be an increase but it’s one that falls woefully short of achieving anything meaningful. New Zealanders aren’t fooled,” says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO.

Successive governments have kicked the climate action can down the road. Instead of reducing emissions, we have the fourth largest increase in emissions since 1990 and the sixth highest per capita emissions. Because we have not reduced emissions over the last 30 years, we have knowingly decided to pay billions of dollars overseas in carbon offsets rather than investing in Aotearoa and reducing our emissions domestically. While other countries have not only set more ambitious targets, they have also been investing in a green revolution and a just transition to a low carbon economy for years. Europe and the USA plan to invest trillions of dollars through Green New Deals, but this opportunity has largely been ignored by National and Labour governments over the last three decades.

“New Zealand has a shameful emissions record. So, when the Prime Minister called climate change ‘the challenge that defines my generation,’ one could assume this government would be more ambitious. But this is ALL they can come up with? This is what the Climate Change Minister is taking to COP26 at this critical time? Ouch!” says Esterhazy.

The New Zealand government needs to invest in our future. We have the solutions to reduce emissions without paying billions of dollars in offshore carbon credits.

What is required?

Support Farmers. With 48% of our emissions coming from agriculture we need to support our farmers to transition more quickly to regenerative agriculture.

Put Nature First. We need to invest in nature-based solutions which utilise the power of nature to reverse the effects of climate change. This includes restoring and maintaining carbon-rich forests, freshwater basins, and wetlands.

Food Systems Focus. Our food systems account for up to 37% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. A food system approach will help us reach our climate and biodiversity goals.

Our Big Blue Economy. With the world’s 4th largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), our greatest strength is using our ocean and blue economy to meet our climate and biodiversity goals.

Invest in Aotearoa’s Future. We need to invest in Aotearoa by developing an Emission Reduction Plan (ERPs) that builds resilience, particularly through iwi and Pacific Island communities. This includes investing in apprenticeships, green jobs, and vocational pathways.

“We can and should do more. There is a huge opportunity for us to change the way we do business and live our lives. Now is the time to be bold and take advantage of this great opportunity in front of us. We can do so much more than the government has announced today together.” says Esterhazy.

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