• By Cliff Mail

The Footprint: Emissions down but...


My attention has been drawn to this article on Newshub reporting that; during the lockdown New Zealand's carbon emissions dropped by a whopping 41%. A global study of the reductions during lockdown showed that New Zealand experienced one of the highest reductions in the World. This study was further backed up by NIWA research which found that pollution levels in our main centres fell by 75%.

Having just driven from Kerikeri to Auckland and spent this morning in rush hour traffic in the big smoke (yes the pollution is back), it is clear that this fall was temporary and, we seem to have embraced our old habits with even greater gusto. The perception of a return to 'business as usual' was further reinforced by today's coverage in The Guardian warning of a return to pre-crisis oil consumption levels. The very painful pandemic lesson that we are still in the process of learning must surely be that failure to plan leads to well - failure. Planning to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels should have started over a decade ago. Every year that we fail to achieve meaningful reductions in emissions simply guarantees greater pain when the crisis inevitably reaches a point where inadequate action is no longer an option.

Dame Anne Salmond provides some advice on Newsroom this morning. In short she is suggesting that the team of five million is going to need to play the game of their lives over the next ten years if we are to address the fundamental risks the human species is facing.

In the meantime, in response to the Covid related question of being able to drive from Auckland to Wellington on a tank of petrol (or diesel), The NZ Herald has updated an old article detailing the range of steps that you can take to get greater efficiency out of your ICE (internal combustion engine). I started driving an EV two years ago and with the next refuelling stop not always just down the road, I was suddenly far more mindful of trying to stretch the kilometres per kilowatt, whereas I never thought too much about the kilometres per litre when driving an ICE vehicle.

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