13 Dec 2015

Govt policies 'don't meet global goal of 1.5°C'

5:32 pm on 13 December 2015

Environmental groups say the government will have to backtrack on some of its policies in order to meet commitments it has agreed to in Paris.

An estimated seven thousand people marched in Wellington to the steps of parliament, demanding climate change justice, 28 November 2015.

7000 people marched to the steps of Parliament calling for "climate change justice" on 28 November. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Parts of the Paris Agreement signed today were legally binding, but the emissions targets were not. An aspirational goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C had also been set.

Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Russel Norman said the government would have a hard time meeting these targets.

The government's transport, agricultural and oil exploration policies were all about increasing emissions, he said.

"The policies of the New Zealand government not only don't match the commitments they made at the Paris meeting, but they certainly don't come anywhere near the global goal of only 1.5°C of warming."

Greenpeace would be looking for "some real signals from the government that it's going to change direction."

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) senior campaigner Alex Smith agreed there was a mismatch between what the government had agreed to in Paris and its current policy settings.

"They've said the right things at Paris and they need to back that up with action at home."

The government's recent Emission Trading Scheme review showed current policy settings would "do little or nothing to reduce emissions", Mr Smith said.

Both Greenpeace and WWF said New Zealand's targets were weak and based on buying overseas carbon credits, which was not good enough.

Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser said the deal served this country's interests as a resource-dependent and export-dependent nation well.

New Zealand's target of reducing emissions to at least 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 was a strong contribution to global efforts, he said.

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