The case for climate action, now


Opinion | Alec Tang, Auckland Council Chief Sustainability Officer (Acting)

The Climate Change Commission’s advice comes at the same time as Aucklanders are asked to provide feedback on the region’s 10-Year Budget 2021-2031 which, for the first time ever, has identified some specific investment focused on accelerating our climate response in Tāmaki Makaurau.

This year, Aucklanders will also have the opportunity to comment on the draft Regional Land Transport Plan which, given 43.6 per cent of Auckland’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport, will have a significant influence over the region’s emissions reduction efforts.

Both the Climate Change Commissions’s carbon budget and the 10-Year Budget are significant public discussions that have the potential to determine whether or not the country and Tāmaki Makaurau will meet the climate commitments that have been set and ensure we do our fair share in addressing the global climate crisis.

Through the coming debate, there will inevitably be concerns about our ability to deliver on the climate commitments that we have made, given the need to deal with the implications of COVID-19 alongside a range of other emerging and persistent societal challenges such as housing, inequity, welfare and inclusion.

And whilst each and every one of these issues are equally critical to the sustainability of our communities and wellbeing, there are two critical issues that we cannot overlook.

Firstly, these crises are not isolated issues – they are intrinsically linked, often amplifying and intensifying each other, although if we are cognisant of these links, we have the opportunity to develop broad solutions that tackle multiple issues and address the underpinning systemic issues. Secondly, these issues do not line up and wait patiently to be resolved whilst we address the latest pressing emergency.

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