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Eyeing implications of a climate emergency declaration

Opinion Piece

There is no doubt that human activity over the past 200 years has increasingly contributed to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, largely from the combustion of fossil fuels and animal husbandry, to the point where scientists tell us that we are reaching a potential run-away condition.

So what are we to do to obviate this forthcoming disaster? Declare a State of Emergency?

Such action implies emergency measures — measures such as: power cuts, curfews, three-day working weeks, petrol rationing, food rationing, travel restrictions. Do I need to go on?

Is this what must be done; is austerity the answer?

If not, then what are the alternative, positive measures?

There are things that could be done but which suffer from procrastination. Does it require the declaration of a State of Emergency to make local and central government take action to address the root causes of the problem?

Energy: New Zealand already generates most of its power from sustainable sources — not a lot to do there; just more hydro, geothermal, solar, wind and wave.

Transport: personal and commercial road transport must be a major offender; we use our cars largely for convenience, but also because there is little alternative; likewise trucking; investment in efficient transport infrastructure (and I’m not talking roads) would be a good step forward; localised manufacturing would help too.

Technology: effective utilisation of waste streams by employing such techniques as pyrolysis; automatic sorting of plastics for recycling; elimination of such wasteful practices as trucking Gisborne’s domestic refuse 300km to landfill in Paeroa; genetic modification of animal feed-stocks or, dare I say, animals, to reduce emissions.

Some of these things are already happening. Would the declaration of a National State of Emergency make them happen more quickly?

Is this the sort of thing you had in mind, Bob?

Any more ideas? Anyone?

Peter Wooding