Low Carbon Kāpiti sets sights on Long Term Plan

New environmental advocacy group Low Carbon Kāpiti congratulates the Council on its latest environmental award, but says they need to do more to meet their carbon emissions target.

The group, whose purpose is to spur more determined action to address the climate crisis, says the Council’s 2018-21 Long Term Plan is crucial for Council to walk the talk on cutting carbon and supporting its residents to do the same.

“The Council’s target is to cut their corporate emissions by 80% in 2021-22 compared to 2009-10. It has made a 57% reduction so far, which is a great achievement, but will fall short of its target if it doesn’t up its game in the next Long Term Plan. I know, having led Council’s carbon reduction programme from 2010 through to earlier this year,” says Low Carbon Kāpiti chairperson Jake Roos.

“Council’s example has led others to follow in their footsteps for example other Wellington and Dunedin Councils have joined the internationally-recognised CEMARS programme, as Kāpiti did. But the climate does not care about awards or relative improvements it will only respond to real cuts in total emissions, and the science is telling us these cuts must be much deeper and immediate. In fact, NZ’s emissions are projected to rise further if more is not done.”

“Thankfully though, working to cut carbon can save ratepayers money and bring our district many other benefits.”

“The formula for cutting NZ’s emissions footprint has been explained in the netzeroNZ report by Vivid Economics, and it applies to the local level as well: improve efficiency, electrify everything, use renewable electricity, and move to more sustainable and appropriate land uses, particularly forests.”

Low Carbon Kāpiti is calling for Council to implement such initiatives in the next Long Term Plan, building upon past successes, namely:

– Conversion of the district’s streetlights to more efficient LED lamps. Presently less than 10% of the Council’s streetlights are LED, and many areas such as Auckland, Dunedin, Upper Hutt and New Plymouth are presently carrying out full conversion programmes.

– Phasing out its direct use of fossil fuels, namely petrol and diesel in its vehicle fleet and natural gas at its swimming pools by switching to electric vehicles and heat pumps respectively. These activities will then be further ‘decarbonised’ by the continuing shift to renewable electricity generation.

– Increasing support for reforestation in the district, including in water supply catchment areas, to absorb carbon and improve water quality, biodiversity and flood control.

– Supporting the move away from fossil-fuelled transport by providing the public with more and better infrastructure for walking, cycling, electric cars and e-bikes.

Low Carbon Kāpiti is affiliated with the ‘Our Climate Declaration’ initiative, which has similar aims, and encourages individuals, businesses, government and other groups to do the same.

Those wanting to learn more or join Low Carbon Kāpiti can do so at its website www.lowcarbonkapiti.org.nz or by contacting [email protected] or calling 04 9052254.