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Guardians submission on the WCC Low Carbon Capital Plan


Dr Sea Rotmann, May 3, 2016

It is good to see vision for a Low Carbon capital, with planning that will increase cycle-ways, electric charging stations, higher density building, ongoing smart energy challenges and phasing out minimum parking requirement. We like the statement “acting to reduce emissions helps the city as a whole” on page 6. However, this unfortunately cannot be taken as a serious statement with the airport and aviation emissions only being mentioned once in the plan on page 10: “On the other hand, we have a major international airport within the city limits, so we are credited with the emissions of nearly all of the region’s domestic air travel. This creates multiple complex challenges – with less forestry we aren’t able to offset as much; and with aviation being a substantial contributor to our transport emissions, greenhouse gas reductions will be driven by the availability of international solutions for aviation such as biofuels or gains in aircraft efficiency.”

Waiting for international solutions for aviation and not counting our international aviation emissions as part of the city’s emissions profile, as well as supporting the extension of the runway to double flights (including long-haul international flights) by 2030, is highly disingenuous. According to Adam Voulstaker’s numbers (

 Nearly a quarter of all CO2 emissions in Wellington are from the airport according to a URS council commissioned report – this is not mentioned in the plan.

 Domestic Aviation emissions have increased 50% in Wellington from 2001, almost equal to petrol emissions.

When setting emission targets we need to keep mindful of:

  1. If we don’t meet said targets, we will get further behind, and the damage to infrastructure, roads, seawalls, and coastline property will require further Council funds and no doubt fossil fuel construction emissions to repair. Hence, the targets are only realistic if we stick to them every year.
  2. The changing situation (as outlined by scientific consensus) and the need to adjust our targets if changing climate and sea-level rise predictions worsen.

With this in mind I would like to recommend the following action points from WCC:

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