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Greetings, 

Would you believe it – we’ve improved our efficiency at producing greenhouse gases! That’s one way to find a good edge to a pretty bad result. Here’s what Michele Lloyd, the environmental-economic statistics manager at Stats NZ, is reported as saying in the NZ Herald:

“New Zealand is producing more greenhouse gases but is being much more efficient in doing so.”

She was commenting on the Environmental Economics Accounts issued recently by Stats NZ. The report showed that greenhouse gas emissions rose more slowly than economic growth in the last 25 years. Agriculture, for example, increased its GDP 1.4% compared to an increase of 0.6% in its carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. Overall our emissions grew by 24% in the 25 years from 1990 to 2015 which means we’ll stay as the fifth largest emitter per capita for a while yet.

James Shaw, who has both the statistics portfolio and climate change, made this comment, reported by Newsroom:

“What this shows is that it’s possible for you to have economic development and at the same time, reduce greenhouse gas emissions….The net number is still increasing. That’s the bad news but we know that it is possible to actually reduce, per unit, the amount of production.”

Is he talking about “green growth”? Can we produce more and emit less?  Carbon emissions might be the most immediate problem but growth implies the inexhaustible supply of resources. Our Climate Declaration commits us to moving beyond growth to a sustainable system - which might resemble the Doughnut variety described by Kate Raworth, to name but one economist who would get us out of the growth hole.

And then there’s the report on forestry. We should have been reforesting every bit of available land but since 2013 tree planting has plummeted to negligible while the numbers of trees felled has increased. The reason is related to the falling price of carbon, internationally, compared with dairy. There’s more profit in cows than trees.

Solar Panels on roof of Auckland MuseumGood news? Not in that report. But the Auckland War Memorial Museum has announced that in the seven or so years since they began monitoring the institution’s carbon footprint it has reduced by 50%. Every lightbulb in the place is LED, including those outside. They’ve installed state of the art, electricity efficient air conditioning that keeps the temperature to 22 degrees. (We’ll all need efficient air conditioning in the hotter years to come.)

The roof, behind the heritage façade, has 189 solar panels which generate 66,000kWh a year (the equivalent power consumed by about eight households), making it one of the largest grid-connected PV installations in the country. All the electricity is used on site and powers the outside LED lights.

Here’s what else they’ve achieved:

  • Reduced consumption of natural gas by 64%
  • Reduced electricity usage by 36%
  • Made annual energy savings of $400,000
  • Reduced waste to landfill carbon emissions by 72%
  • Reduced carbon emissions from staff air travel by 39%
 
 
 
At the other end of the country
 

At the other end of the country, Ralph Adler has been busy in his Dunedin community. He was one of about 40 people who attended a workshop run by Scott Willis on climate change and building coastal communities’ adaptation and resilience.

Ralph also presented Our Climate Declaration and explained its aims and purposes to a meeting of Te Ao Turoa, the environmental arm of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. He continues his mission to reduce the burning of coal in schools’ heating systems and has teamed up with Abigale Smith from Greenpeace to work on a strategy.

 
 
 
Upcoming Community Workshops
 
 
 
 
 
Workshop Participants
Coming to Tauranga and Blenheim
 
Jeanette Fitzsimons will address a “Sustainable Backyards” seminar on climate action in Tauranga on March 23, 6.30pm at the Yacht Club and she and Pat Baskett will run a workshop the following day on community climate action plans. Another workshop is scheduled for Blenheim in April.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kids in the garden
The National Petroleum Conference
 
Many in our community of supporters are preparing for the demonstration in Wellington on March 27 at the national petroleum conference. This will be a major event, a significant feature of which will be the Supergrans parade lead by pipe and drummer. Please persuade your ageing but still mobile relatives who live in the city to join up, if only for a short time. The venue has still not been disclosed. When it is, our convenor Joanna Santa Barbara will have the details. Email her at joanna@atamaivillage.nz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
That’s all for now, Do consider coming to Wellington. We hope to see you there.

Warm wishes
Pat and The Team
Our Climate Declaration
 
 
 

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