The greenhouse gas emission reductions promised by the New Zealand National Party government in Paris in 2015 are a disgrace. If our emission reduction promises were applied to every other nation on earth, the result would be a catastrophic increase in global temperatures of 5.1°C. This puts New Zealand on a par with oil and gas producers Saudi Arabia, Russia and Canada. We come out far worse even than Australia and the US which are often seen as leading polluters.
The headline in this Guardian article should read “Policies of New Zealand, China, Russia and Canada threaten 5°C climate change, study finds”
This direct comparison between nations is possible following the publication of a research paper in the journal Nature Communications and this accompanying map.
We often hear the argument that New Zealand should not be leading Climate Action but should be followers. By the new measure available from this report, New Zealand is among the worst straggler nations on the planet. If our current promises were adopted by every other nation we woud be leading the Planet to 5 C climate catastrophe.
Obviously, the new Government has begun some efforts to reduce our emissions, but this new study shows how much ground we have to make up. Setting emission reduction targets for 2030 or 2050 is not going to cut it.
We’re going to have to make drastic reductions in emissions in the next 1-2 years otherwise we have no chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change
The authors of the research of the study highlight the huge gap between political will and scientific alarm but hope it will inspire rather than dispirit people. Let’s hope they’re right. Let’s hope this report becomes a huge wake-up call to steer the New Zealand government and its population away from its smug assumption that we are somehow climate change leaders.