Pressure on NZ to up use of renewable energy

  • 14/04/2014

The latest United Nations report on climate change says it's now more affordable for the world to invest in renewable energy and more critical than ever.

Without a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the report says the Earth could warm by almost 5degC, and though our government says we're doing our bit, scientists say otherwise.

Seventy-seven percent of New Zealand's electricity is generated renewably but the New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) says we could hit 100 percent.

"Renewables globally is going gangbusters and New Zealand can get a slice of that action," says Eric Pyle of the NZWEA.

The Ministry for the Environment released New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions figures on Friday, which show a 25 percent increase from 1990 to 2012.

The biggest contributors towards the total 76 million tonnes of 2012 emissions are agriculture at 46 percent and energy at 42 percent.

"Per head of population, New Zealand emits about 16 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The sustainable level is about 1 tonne per person, so we're way off the scale," says climate scientist James Renwick.

The UN's IPCC report says if the world continues on its current emissions trend, it will warm by up to a "catastrophic" 4.8degC by 2100.

The aim is to keep temperature rise to 2degC above pre-industrial levels. To do that scientists say we need to cut emissions by 40 to 70 percent by 2050.

New Zealand has committed to just a 5 percent reduction on 1990 levels by 2020, leaving scientists hoping that is enough to ensure a safe world for future generations.

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source: newshub archive