NZ’s weak climate change target means Kiwis will fall further behind in global switch to clean energy

Our government just announced the climate change target it will commit to in the lead up to Paris climate conference in December. Sadly, for the clean tech industry and our nation’s economy, the target is weaker than it was six years ago and our emissions will be almost 30% worse than they were in 1990.

We once proudly led the clean energy race which lay at the very foundation of our clean green reputation. Our nation was powered on 100% renewable energy and our sustainable, secure and affordable energy system gave us a unique, natural economic advantage. Unfortunately, our government has since put us increasingly out of step with the rest of the world.

Solar allows communities to generate energy more cheaply than utilities can and changing to electric cars would stop us wasting $4bn every year buying imported fossil fuels. By not putting in place a strong climate change target our government is risking our ability to secure the social, economic, security and environmental benefits that clean technology can deliver. Benefits that many of our key trading partners are rapidly embracing as they aim for 100% renewable power and reduce their reliance on expensive fossil fuels.

Recent developments in China are rapidly swinging the future of global energy firmly towards smart, decentralised and renewable systems. China’s long term planning on renewables and energy efficiency means it has been able to announce a target of 2030, or earlier, for peak carbon emissions.

This is a major commitment from what will be the world’s biggest economy and a huge development from its position at the Copenhagen climate summit just six years ago. It’s been made possible by a complete rethink of the institutional and governance basis of energy. It is a commitment that our energy and clean tech industry should be taking advantage of by sharing our extensive knowledge on renewables.

China’s foresight and investment in the future is the complete opposite of the path we are currently on. It’s time for our communities to make a stand and embrace a clean tech future. We need to lead our nation and our government in the direction it should be taking, otherwise we’ll be left stranded, both politically and economically.

You can start today. Switch to solar, buy an electric car, install LED light bulbs, and insulate your whole home if you haven’t done so already. You can also add your support to the petition urging our government to aim for 100% renewable energy.

Kiwis can lead the clean energy race again.