Our Climate Change action continued

First listen to yesterday’s post

The previous post focused on stepping stones to reach Paris target of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Our target is to reduce these emissions to 50% below the 1990 levels.

Dr Jan Wright is the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and this is her last report before she retires. She has been in this job for 10 years. Earlier posts have reported on endangered native birds, the need to plant more trees, and the use of 1080 poison. Her role is to advise the government of the day on the environment, how we can maintain and improve it. Her office is not part of the Ministry for the Environment but is completely independent and reports directly to the government.

In this, her final report, she recommends that we establish an independent expert group to set progress steps towards reaching our target. The UK has a group which does this and so do 9 other countries.

It is more difficult for us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because 49% of these emissions are caused by our agriculture: farm animals, especially cows. In contrast, only 8% of the UK’s emissions are the result of agriculture. However, we could do more about electricity generation and transport. To quote from the report: “New Zealand is rich in geothermal energy, and with the best wind in the world, we have a great opportunity for decarbonising transport.”

Another quote from the report: “If the Earth is compared with an apple, the atmosphere would be about as thick as its skin.” Increasing carbon dioxide affects that protective layer. It will be future generations which suffer the effects of more extreme weather events. Young people who belong to a group called Generation Zero want the government to do more. “Climate change is an issue on which parents should listen to their children,” says the report.

Vocabulary

• electricity generation – to generate electricity means to make electricity
• geothermal activity – using hot steam from the ground
• decarbonising – removing carbon e.g. using electric cars, trucks and trains






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