20 Oct 2015

Mayors join forces to tackle climate change

6:16 pm on 20 October 2015

Mayors nationwide have signed a declaration committing to a tougher stance on tackling climate change.

The Local Government Leaders Climate Change Declaration was announced today and urges central Government to be more ambitious with climate change mitigation measures.

The Government's emission reduction target of 11 percent on 1990 levels, which it will take to a major climate change conference in Paris this year, has been widely criticised for being too low.

The declaration, from 17 mayors, asks the Government to make it a priority to develop and implement a transition plan for a low carbon New Zealand.

"We stress the benefits of early action to moderate the costs of adaption to our communities. We are all too aware of challenges we face shoring up infrastructure and managing insurance costs. These are serious financial considerations for councils and communities."

Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser will lead a New Zealand delegation to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December.

The conference aims to achieve for the first time a universal and legally binding agreement which will tackle climate change and focus on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to below 2degC.

The councils' declaration said it believed New Zealand had a lot at stake and a lot to gain from "adopting strong leadership on climate change and ambitious emission reduction targets", at the Paris meeting.

The councils committed to promoting walking, cycling and public transport, as well as renewable energy and the uptake of electric vehicles, and said there was clear and compelling evidence to act.

They also planned to improve the resource efficiency and health of homes, businesses and infrastructure.