New Zealand’s growth model, largely based on exporting primary products, has started to show its environmental limits, with increased greenhouse gas emissions, diffuse freshwater pollution and threats to biodiversity.
– OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: New Zealand 2017
From the Greens,
Today’s OECD environmental report has highlighted the urgent need for New Zealand to change direction and move to a low carbon, green economy, the Green Party said today.
The OECD has said that New Zealand has the second-highest level of emissions per unit of GDP in the developed world. We also have the fifth-highest emissions per capita.
“The New Zealand economy is highly carbon intensive and this can’t be sustained if we want to also play our part in addressing climate change,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“In short, the OECD has found that New Zealand’s growth model is hitting environmental limits.
“The OECD has recommended we strengthen the Emissions Trading Scheme to set a meaningful price on carbon, set a date to begin pricing agriculture’s emissions, and address high and rising carbon pollution from the transport sector.
“Our former Environment Minister, Simon Upton, is telling us that we’ll miss our Paris climate targets if we don’t change direction.
“The last nine years of the National Government have led to our carbon emissions rising dramatically, despite our 2015 pledge in Paris to reduce them. Our rivers are more polluted, and our biodiversity is under increasing threat.
“We need to change the Government if we want to put our country on a green growth pathway — one that protects our environment and provides good paying jobs in the cleantech sector,” said Mr Shaw.
Full Forest and Bird response here.
Coverage from Newshub,
The report highlights a lack of long-term environmental strategy and if we don’t address that, we’ll make unrecoverable environmental loses, says Dr Marie Brown, author of Last Line of Defence.
“The policy at the moment really makes it look as though we want to have our cake and eat it too, but we need to get very much better at identifying environmental bottom lines and environmental limits and understanding that we have to work within them or we’re going to lose that clean, green edge that we have – or we had,” Dr Brown told Newshub.
A history of “soft limits” and giving into commercial interests is taking its toll, Dr Brown said.
“That is reflecting in the state of our fresh water, reflecting in the state of our biodiversity, the state of our climate change emissions. That’s the measure of the effectiveness of our environmental law and policy – whether it can curtail those activities and keep them within those environmental limits, and there’s just not a lot of evidence we’re doing that.”