December 16, 2015
The Paris agreement tackling emissions and climate change is commendable but it will require real commitment to achieve goals set out, New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) chair Bryce Julyan says.
Actions will speak louder than words and while government leadership is critical, Kiwi business and community efforts will be just as essential, he says.
The agreement is the first global legally binding deal to tackle global warming. Agreement on climate is historic but it requires nations to act and the big companies and investors of the energy sector to get behind it.
The deal means countries are likely to continue pursuing climate change targets, which will require a transformation of economies away from fossil fuels to green energy sources. That means a future where most new cars will be electric by 2030, where homes will have to stop relying on gas for heating, and where consumers will continue to pay rising subsidies for renewable electricity through energy bills.
"Climate change will affect many sectors and food production will be one of these critical areas â planning for climate change will be a challenge in our food and agricultural production industry not only for changes in extreme weather conditions such as drought and floods but also acknowledging that our biggest contributor to greenhouse gases is the agricultural sector,â Julyan says.
"As a key contributor to our export market and the mainstay of our economy, how will we manage our commitments while maintaining economic wellbeing? We will be challenged in our businesses and industry to be smart and innovative in meeting our commitments while maintaining our competitiveness and achieving economic success.
"Good planning and forethought is going to be so important to New Zealand to maintaining a healthy economy and a sustainable future. Regardless of the causes of climate change we must address and plan for this future. We must sustain our environment and grow our economy so we preserve sustainable choices for our children and grandchildren.
"We are extremely fortunate in this country to have an abundance of natural resources but we cannot be ignorant or complacent about planning for changes. Severe weather events are likely to be more apparent and long term issues like sea level rise may threaten coastal areas and so planning our land uses, locating activities and anticipating hazards need to be considered and existing development may need to be reconsidered.
"The implications of these have to be faced and planning for change needs to occur as early as possible to avoid future risks or catastrophes.
"Maintaining our independence from less sustainable resources which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions is important and New Zealand is fortunate in that we have strong renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, wind or thermal. Planning for our energy needs into the future will need to continue to be sustainable and clean," Julyan says.
For further information contact NZPI chair Bryce Julyan on 27 440 5464 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188.
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