Climate Change Commissioner Rod Carr calls for Emissions Reduction Plan to be accelerated

The Climate Change Commission is calling for New Zealand's Emissions Reduction Plan to be accelerated so the country doesn't fall behind in the battle with global warming. 

In May, the Government released its first Emissions Reduction Plan which revealed how emissions will be reduced over the coming decades - as the country targets net-zero by 2050.

The plan contains more than 300 actions and covers transport, energy, building, agriculture, forestry and waste.

Climate Change Commission chair Rod Carr said he doesn't believe the Emissions Reduction Plan is out of date, but it needs to be accelerated. 

"It was arguable we should've been getting on with this 10, 20, even 30 years ago," Dr Carr told Newshub Nation. 

"To that extent, we are late to this party but the work that needs to be done to set us on a pathway towards a low emissions economy is now underway. 

"We just need to accelerate it. It's certainly not the case that the Emissions Reduction Plan is out of date but it will become out of date if we don't take action now." 

The latest report by the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) has cast doubt countries are doing enough - saying the world would still warm by 3.2C this century.

But Dr Carr believes that is a call to action by the IPCC and said sustained steps for the coming decades are what is needed. 

"What they have said is very clearly a call to action that not only do nations have to deliver on their pledges and a number are not, but in addition, we need to strive harder sooner to move faster.

"But to get this done, we need to sustain actions for the decades to come and a quickfire quest for a silver bullet that alienates the community is almost a sure-fire way not get the sustained action. That is critical for us to be able to address this issue before the middle of the century in 2024."

The Government expanded its cost of living support last weekend by extending reductions to fuel excise duty, road user charges and public transport by more than five months until the end of January next year.

Dr Carr, who is also a member of the UN High-Level Expert Group (HLEG), believes it won't have an impact on reducing emissions from the transport sector. 

"We know that the price of fuel affects household budgets significantly. What we saw is the underlying oil price surge dramatically to levels that could have never been put in place by an emissions trading scheme price," Dr Carr told Newshub Nation. 

"As a consequence, oil companies have done some of the price work that might otherwise have had to be done as part of a just transition. We need to be mindful of the burdens we expect people to bear as they transition to a lower emissions economy. 

"I don't believe in the short term it does because the overall impact of the much higher price will push us in the right direction."

In 2018, the average emissions of OECD countries were 12.9 tonnes of CO2e per capita. New Zealand was emitting 16.9 tonnes of CO2e per capita, which was the sixth highest in the OECD.

Dr Carr said New Zealand has a lifestyle dependent on high-emitting technologies.

"We need to take responsibility for the change over the next 30 years, that will move us to much lower-emitting lifestyles and much lower reliance on high emitting livelihoods for the way we earn our income and earn and pay our way in the world."

Watch the full interview with Dr Rod Carr above.

Watch Newshub Nation 9:30am Saturday/10am Sunday on TV3 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. NZ On Air supports Newshub Nation.