“Last year New Zealand took a world leading approach by legislating a split gas target in the Zero Carbon Act,” Dr Mackle says.
“This recognised that methane is a short-lived gas and requires a different approach to the long-lived carbon dioxide.
“While we need to take carbon to net zero, we can achieve a situation where we are no longer adding to global warming by reducing and stabilising our methane emissions.”
New Zealand’s international target is currently expressed as a reduction of all greenhouse gases by 30 percent on 2005 levels.
“This is a misalignment with our domestic policy and what the science has said on methane. Having an international target that splits the gases will send a much clearer signal to the international community on why New Zealand’s approach is in line with a 1.5 degrees target,” said Dr Mackle.
“It will also allow us to put something on the table that is domestically achievable, and it will support policy alignment with what was legislated last year through the Zero Carbon Bill.
“We are urging the Climate Change Commission to consider if New Zealand’s international target should be recommunicated as a split gas target, the same as how we are approaching this issue domestically.
“While the Commission is reviewing our Paris Commitments, they should also be reviewing our domestic targets – particularly the methane reduction target which is set as a broad range – to ensure they are fair and appropriate in a New Zealand context,” Dr Mackle concluded.
Notes for editors
Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced yesterday he has asked the independent Climate Change Commission to review New Zealand’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.
The purpose of the review is to ensure the NDC is consistent with the goal, unanimously agreed by Parliament last year, of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C above pre industrial levels.
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