Bold carbon neutral target set by Christchurch
Christchurch is aiming to be carbon neutral - excluding methane - by 2045 - five years ahead of the Government deadline for the entire country. And to ensure it stays on track Christchurch City Council’s set an interim target of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
“We were among the first Councils in New Zealand to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency and it is important that we back that declaration up by showing our strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,’’ says Council Head of Strategic Policy Emma Davis.
“The Government’s Zero Carbon Bill sets the target of New Zealand having net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, excluding biogenic methane, but the feedback we have received from our residents showed they want us to take a more ambitious approach.
“The Council has agreed that Christchurch should set itself the target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions – excluding methane - by 2045.
“By 2030 we also want to see at least a 25 per cent reduction in methane emissions so that we can achieve at least a 50 per cent reduction in methane emissions by 2045,’’ Davis says.
In 2016 to 2017, Christchurch emitted about 2.5 million gross tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. That equates to 6.6 tonnes per person, which is lower than estimates for Auckland of 7.9 tonnes and for Dunedin of 11 tonnes, but more than Wellington's average of 5.7 tonnes per person.
The largest contributor to Christchurch’s carbon emissions is transportation. It accounts for 53 per cent of carbon emissions, which is higher than the national average of 17 percent.
Davis says achieving the 2045 carbon neutral target is going to require the buy-in of the entire Christchurch community.
"We're all going to have to make changes; we are all going to have to play our part in reducing our emissions, but I'm confident that our communities are up for the challenge. This is an achievable target and by adopting it today we are showing that as a city we are committed to playing a strong role in combating climate change.''
The council will revise its goals every three years and could potentially bring them forward.