24 Mar 2014

Environmental problems seen as threat by Royal Society

1:43 pm on 24 March 2014

The Royal Society says environmental problems are beginning to threaten the social and economic wellbeing of the country.

In a paper titled Facing the future: towards a green economy for New Zealand released last Friday, it said growth in human consumption over the last century had significant effects on the global environment, such as reduced water quality, loss of biodiversity and a changing climate.

The panel that authored the paper was chaired by Emeritus Professor Gerry Carrington of Otago University, who says there is an appetite for initiatives to green the economy, including many in the agricultural sector, where there are some great projects developing.

"People develop a vision for the future but at the moment we are a bit muddling along and I think we can do better than that.

"Having people in groups such as the Smart Grid Forum help to overcome difficulties and people work out how they can get around problems that are holding us back.

"So getting rid of some of those road blocks that are facing us at the moment would be great. Things would move very quickly."

Membership of the Smart Grid Forum was announced on Friday by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges and represents consumers, business, science and research.

The idea is to share information, ideas and expertise and Professor Carrington said it is this model that would help move New Zealand to a much more sustainable and robust economy.

He said that done right New Zealand could become a green economy without a drop in living standards.