30 Mar 2016

Wellington set to miss emissions target

10:56 am on 30 March 2016

Wellington City Council has announced an ambitious plan to reduce emissions in the capital.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown Photo: SUPPLIED / WCC

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown gave a State of the City speech yesterday in which she outlined the issues open for consultation in the Council's 2016-17 Annual Plan.

Among the proposals was the "Low Carbon Capital" action plan, which aimed to further reduce emissions in the city.

She said Wellington had the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any city in Australasia, at 5.32 tonnes of CO2 annual emissions per person.

"The highest use of public transport of any city in New Zealand ... more people walk to work in Wellington than in almost any other city you can name."

Despite all that, the city would not reach its goal of reducing emissions to 30 percent of 2001 levels by 2020.

But the action plan said the council remained committed to cutting it by 80 percent by 2050.

"It is the 2050 target that is critical and so while it is disappointing to not meet the 2013 or 2020 targets it is merely the trajectory that has changed, not the goal itself."

Senior fellow Suzi Kerr of economic and public policy research institute Motu said the council had a sensible plan to reach its target.

"The city council has a limited scope of things that they can affect, and to certain extent a lot of the things they're trying to influence are not entirely within their control."

The climate change action plan included promoting electric vehicles and car sharing while trying to reduce private car ownership.

The council was also considering what to do with sewage and looking at promoting insulation and solar energy to help make the city's homes and offices more efficient.

Victoria University Director of Environmental Studies Ralph Chapman said Wellington was leading the way nationally, but that was helped by the compact nature of the city.

"It's pretty good, but it's not perfect ... it's got a great lifestyle, it's an attractive city, but it needs to cut its carbon emissions quite consistently and hasn't really been performing so far very well."

The Low Carbon Capital plan is out for consultation, along with the rest of the Annual Plan, until 29 April.

The plan aims to put the second year of the council's agreed Long-term Plan 2015-25 goals, and any unforeseen ideas, into practice.