On Friday night I attended the last of 3 lectures given by Lord Nicholas Stern at The University of Auckland. In front of packed house he talked of a new industrial revolution and countries that did not invest in renewable energy and cleaner innovation risked falling behind technologically, or being excluded from trade markets.
“All countries have to embrace [the industrial revolution] … or countries will be reluctant to trade with them. Ten or 15 years from now, those that produce in dirty ways are likely to face trade barriers.”
According to Stern, New Zealand needs to reduce CO2 equivalent per person from nearly 20 tonnes to two tonnes by 2050. “We know that New Zealand has half of its emissions from agriculture. But the possibilities of technical change in agriculture to move to the low-carbon economy are very strong. New Zealand could lead the world in that sort of change.”
A significant number of countries in the world argue that they cause only 1 or 2% of emissions so why should they make cuts. Stern takes the view that the action reduce emissions must be colaborative “as poorer countries could look at the richer countries, like New Zealand, and say ‘well if they’re not getting on with it, if they’re finding it difficult, how can we, so much poorer, be expected to get on with it?’. One country has a big effect on others.”
“But this has to be collaborative. Poorer countries could look at the richer countries, like New Zealand, and say ‘well if they’re not getting on with it, if they’re finding it difficult, how can we, so much poorer, be expected to get on with it?’. One country has a big effect on others.”
To avoid a 50/50 chance of catastrophic temperature increase of 5C early next century we need to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere from the current 50 gigatonnes to: 35 gigatonnes – 2030
20 gigatonnes – 2050
*High emissions reduction targets for rich countries
*Lesser targets for developing countries
*An international emissions trading regime
*Technological advances to reduce emissions
*Financial assistance for developing countries to help adapt to climate change.