20 Oct 2021

One in five Kiwis don't believe in climate change - survey

1:39 pm on 20 October 2021

New research reveals New Zealanders and businesses are complacent about climate change.

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Climate complacency is a cause for concern for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Photo: 123RF

That's despite a major UN climate report confirming unequivocally that humans are driving climate change and the effects will be catastrophic if emissions are not slashed.

The survey by the Crown entity the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority shows more than a third of New Zealand businesses do not think climate change will affect their business.

Only one in five feel any pressure from customers and suppliers to do more to reduce emissions.

The survey shows 43 percent of businesses say the country is too small to have any major impact on global emissions.

It also shows 20 percent of New Zealanders don't believe in climate change, and only four in 10 people believe they could do more to help cut emissions.

The authority is urging people to step up and play their part to cut climate gases.

We can't 'recycle our way out of the climate crisis'

Emissions from energy make up 41 percent of New Zealand's total emissions, and transport 48 percent.

But the research showed many New Zealanders believe recycling is going to help more with the climate problem, with 81 percent favouring it as their most common climate action.

That was compared with higher impact, energy-reducing actions such as driving less (30 percent) or purchasing products with a low carbon footprint (32 percent).

EECA spokesperson Jo Bye said, while recycling had an impact, "we won't recycle our way out of the climate crisis".

"We need to do more to recognise the highest-priority actions we can each take to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, such as driving and flying less, transitioning to lower-emissions vehicles, purchasing products with a low carbon footprint, and embracing clean energy for businesses."

EECA is launching a year-long campaign highlighting climate responses from New Zealanders and businesses who are on the "right side" of history, and are taking positive climate action with clean and clever energy use.

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