Media release: Progress slow on Wellington and Auckland’s carbon emissions

Monday, 19 June 2017

Associate Professor Ralph Chapman was lead author of a Victoria University of Wellington-led study which suggests that despite strong goals adopted by Wellington and Auckland, the cities still have a way to go in reducing carbon emissions from transport.

Published recently in the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, the research analysed local government policies, commitments to cut carbon emissions, and the gap between policy aspirations and outcomes.

Lead author Victoria’s Associate Professor Ralph Chapman says there is an urgent need to cut carbon emissions sharply, especially in light of the Paris Agreement.

He says Auckland and most Wellington councils are taking action, but “could do better” in transport and urban development policy efforts.

“Transportation was New Zealand’s fastest-growing sector in terms of carbon emissions over the last two decades—road transport emissions grew 71 percent between 1990 and 2014.

“We found that Wellington and Auckland’s policies are generally pushing in the right direction. Carbon emissions per capita in the Wellington region, for example, are starting to decline. Auckland’s are stable.”

“However, progress in both cities has been modest, to date, and neither city’s emissions are falling significantly.

Read the full article: Chapman R, P Howden-Chapman, K Whitwell & A Thomas (2017) Towards zero carbon? Constrained policy action in two New Zealand cities (pdf), Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 24, 2, 97-116