20 Mar 2024

Climate activists demand Christchurch include cruise ship emissions in targets

7:56 pm on 20 March 2024
Protesters at Christchurch City Council.

Protesters at Christchurch City Council. Photo: RNZ / Anna Sargent

Climate activists are urging the Christchurch City Council to count cruise ship emissions in the city's climate targets so they are included in the emissions reduction plan.

Christchurch's latest emissions report estimated cruise ships produced the equivalent of 2 percent of the city's total gross emissions in the 2023 financial year.

Although they were calculated in the report, they were not included in the total gross emission or net emissions.

Climate Liberation Aotearoa spokesperson Michael Apathy addressed councillors at a meeting on Wednesday, calling for that to change.

"The fact that cruise ship emissions are now being counted in the inventory for the first time is a great first step, but it accomplishes nothing on its own. We demand that they also be included in Christchurch's total emissions, the ones that count towards our emission targets.

"The emissions are being released into the atmosphere - they have to be part of our reduction goals as well. The heavy fuel oil they burn puts small ultrafine particulates into our air that are carcinogenic. In terms of these polluting small particulates, one cruise ship is actually the equivalent of 1 million cars."

The emissions report, done by consulting firm AECOM, showed Christchurch's total gross greenhouse gas emissions had decreased by just 1 percent since 2017. It was a long way off the council's target of a 50 percent reduction (excluding methane) by 2030, and the ultimate goal of net zero greenhouse emissions (excluding methane) by 2045.

The report found transport was the highest-emitting sector in the city, representing 54 percent of total gross emissions. However, car emissions decreased by 2 percent compared to 2019, and bus emissions by 19 percent, due to a transition from diesel to electric buses.

Deputy Mayor Pauline Cotter said it was important to stay focused on the goals.

"This report is really good because it's actually enabling people to look at it and realise where we can all make the biggest impact, and we can see that it's in transport for most people.

"This is not a damning report at all. I think it's a good report. It's got some positives in there, and it lets people see what's going on, and I think lets keep going."

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