Waikato Must Triple Transport Emission Target

Dr Paul Winton of the 1point5 Project told Waikato Regional Council’s Climate Action Committee and transport planners this week we need to reduce Waikato’s transport emissions by around 75% by 2030. 

Yes you heard that right – by 2030 we need to almost completely decarbonise transport emissions in the Waikato. He told the committee that setting targets for 2050 were meaningless. We have to take ambitious strong action now, and in the next 10 years. View the full presentation here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MiZ0-AmQyc&feature=youtu.be

Dr Wilton was scathing of the target of a 25% reduction in Waikato transport emissions by 2030 in the just published draft Waikato Regional Land Transport Plan.  In a fist in a velvet glove type comment he said this was “a start –  now just triple it” ie to a 75% reduction in transport emissions by 2030. 

These comments will have come as a huge wake up call for transport planners in the Waikato.  The target of a 25% reduction in Waikato transport emissions has seemingly been plucked from thin air.  Unlike in Auckland, little if any in-depth analysis has been done on where Waikato emissions can and should be reduced to reach the 1.5 degree target.

Auckland has an emission reduction scenario building tool, Transport2030. This tool showed clearly which transport projects really do reduce emissions and those that do little.

Dr Wilton made it crystal clear that Waikato Regional Council, and other transport stakeholders should purchase the scenario building tool with Waikato data, and use it locally.

The tool showed that to reduce emissions in both cities and small towns with much less capital expenditure we must  –

  • open the streets for people not vehicles
  • open streets for buses
  • introduce car emissions standards
  • increase the average car occupancy
  • electrify vehicles.

Billion-dollar capital intensive projects like Auckland’s city rail link might be worthwhile projects for other reasons but make a minimal difference to climate emissions.

Dr Winton said cars would always be “part of the mix” but we need to electrify the fleet and “discourage cars that have 1.1 people in them” by introducing congestion charges in cities and making parking harder in all urban centres.