12 November 2001
Manukau Must Reduce Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions
A report on how Manukau City contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change has been released by Manukau City Council. The report is a forerunner to an action plan to reduce emission levels.
Greenhouse gases are altering the world's weather and there is growing concern about their impact on the planet. The report has been released to coincide with a series of nationwide public meetings undertaken by the government.
The aim of the meetings is to raise awareness of climate change issues and seek public feedback on proposals for dealing with the problem. The first meeting was held last week in Manukau.
Most of Manukau's greenhouse gas emissions come from carbon dioxide, principally from domestic and residential energy use and transport. The city currently produces 7.9% of national emissions and that is projected to rise to 9.3% in just over ten years.
"We have to change our ways," Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says. "Not just as a city, but as a nation. New Zealand is not one of the major contributors to global warming compared to major industrial nations, but we do play a role and have an obligation to help solve the problem. Manukau produces more than its fair share of harmful carbon dioxide gases.
"I have been concerned about this issue for some time and Manukau City Council is going to take a leadership approach.
"We as a council have already begun reducing energy use in our own properties. But we still need to do better and I hope the city as a whole follows suit. The action plan will outline how we can get more energy efficiency in our homes and businesses as well as better urban planning. It also underlines the importance of promoting greater use of public transport or better-designed vehicles.
Currently, vehicles are major sources of greenhouse gases and air and water pollution generally.
"These changes are just commonsense but are also part of my vision of sustainable development for the city. We need growth, but not at any cost. It's a question of finding a balance," Sir Barry says.
"There is a practical side to this too. We will need to reduce our CO2 emissions as part of New Zealand's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. This international agreement sets limits for GHG emissions in order to reduce global warming."
All major industrial nations have signed it. As a result of the Protocol, individual nations will be given allowable amounts of greenhouse gases they can produce, with 1990 levels being the standard.
The lower the amount of gases, the more credits they get. Nations, which do not meet their targets, will have to pay for not doing so (a "carbon tax") and that will act as an incentive to improve.
"Local government has a role to play as part of New Zealand's commitment to this goal because we have a responsibility for maintaining our local environment. It's also a matter of leadership.
"The Manukau climate change action plan will link all these ideas together in clear and simple terms," Sir Barry says.
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory is available from Manukau City Council tel 2628900 ext 5284. For information about the outcome of the public meeting contact Grant Hewison tel 2625111.
Manukau City Council
Phone: (09) 2628900 x 8650
Fax: (09) 2625759