OECD: NZ not doing enough to curb climate change

OECD: NZ not doing enough to curb climate change

New Zealand's effort to reduce climate change has been criticised by the OECD as the world's most important climate conference approaches.

The COP 21 summit in Paris will see the world form a climate pact, but the OECD's environment director says it won't be enough to avert the worst of global warming.

From wild fires in Californian forests to year-long droughts on Canterbury farms, already climate change is affecting the world.

But as leaders prepare to present their commitments to reducing emissions at the COP21 summit, there is a warning those will not be enough.

"We know that none of these pledges add up to be on a track to get to where we need to be in the second half of the century," says OECD environment director Simon Upton.

New Zealand's own pledge will be presented in Paris, to reduce our emissions in the next 15 years, to 11 percent below those of 1990.

The goal is to limit the warming of the planet to 2degC higher than pre-industrial levels. But ours, and the pledges announced so far, would mean a rise of 2.7degC.

"New Zealand is like every other country in the world in that it's doing something, but it's not doing enough," says Mr Upton. "It's going to have to increase its game here."

Agriculture accounts for nearly half our emissions. The Prime Minister admits that could be reduced.

"That's what all of the scientific research is all about – trying to find a solution for methane emissions," says Prime Minister John Key.

But Mr Upton says clean power and transport should be the focus instead.

"It needs research, it needs time. But that's not a reason for not doing the things you can do today."

Many have billed the climate talks in Paris as the world's last chance to avert a catastrophe. But climate scientists say that's counterproductive, and even if Paris doesn't yield the solution, every step closer to a carbon-free future is one further away from a climate disaster.

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