87pct of Kiwis concerned about climate change - study

  • 25/11/2015

Kiwis with a guilty conscience over climate change can make simple lifestyle choices such as cutting down red meat or using public transport, new research says.

Researchers at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research compared the 2006/7 and 2012/13 Household Economic Surveys to determine how Kiwis can reduce their impact on climate change.

While 87 percent of New Zealanders were concerned about it, only 42 percent believed their actions could make a difference, researcher Suzi Kerr said.

Cutting down on dairy products and red meat, increasing a car's fuel efficiency or shifting from driving to public transport or walking were prime ways to cut down on emissions, she said.

"I'm not saying we should all be non-driving vegans, but it's good to understand our impact on emissions," she said.

Food, transport, housing, and utilities account for 82 percent of household emissions.

The research found emissions increased with household age and tended to be higher in South Island households - possibly due to more heating in a colder climate.

There was, however, an "Auckland effect" in international air travel emissions, said Ms Kerr.

"This is possibly because Auckland has a high population of immigrants who travel overseas more frequently."

International air emissions for wealthier families increased significantly between the 2006/7 and 2012/13 surveys as they began to travel more often.

Overall, emissions from consumption by individual households is falling, but the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere from Kiwis' overall consumption is rising, due to population growth.