Climate Change Minister Tim Groser’s claim that New Zealand is doing its “fair share” of climate action has been blown out of the water by an international analysis [Full policy brief here (pdf)]. Once one removes what the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) calls the “creative accounting” of rules around land use and forestry, New Zealand’s newly announced 2030 target translates into an 11 percent increase by 2030. It’s even possible that we won’t have to lift a finger to cut emissions and yet still meet both our 2020 and 2030 targets.
They say our emissions are projected to head in the opposite direction from the world’s biggest emitters such as China, the United States and the European Union.
The CAT has rated New Zealand’s target “inadequate” – meaning that if everybody else made the same effort as NZ, warming would exceed 3-4ºC. And we’re not on track to reaching our (also rated inadequate) 2050 target. If we were even on the same track as the US’s 2050 goal, we’d have to increase our target to 45% reduction by 2030 below 2005 levels (30% below 1990).
It gets worse: in just ten years, CAT projects that the average New Zealander will have a bigger carbon footprint than a US citizen — worse than some of the most carbon profligate people on the planet.
The analysis also points out one of our biggest secrets: that the only substantial action taken on climate change by the Government since 2008 has been to weaken the ETS.