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NZ must act now to be low-carbon: report

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/04/2016

New Zealand needs to act now to reduce its carbon footprint, a new report recommends.

It can become a low-carbon economy over the next few decades but only if everyone shared the same aspirations and take immediate action according to the 173-page report from a panel of experts.

One of the biggest challenges is how to reduce livestock greenhouse gases - which account for around half of total New Zealand emissions - but selective breeding could help relieve the burden.

Royal Society of New Zealand President emeritus professor Richard Bedford says the report provides timely scientific analysis of the environmental situation and how to act.

"All New Zealanders need to understand the threats of climate change, accept that we need to change the way we act, realise there are trade-offs that will need to be made," he said.

"The sooner we make changes, the more likely it is that we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change."

The transport sector was also singled out for its 99 per cent dependence on fossil fuels, with the report urging new regulatory standards to curb emissions.

Among the suggestions are vehicle fuel efficiency standards, prioritising walking and cycling in urban design and allowing more comfortable and convenient bus and rail services.

"There is a clear case for immediate action. New research and technologies will continue to emerge but many mitigation options are already well-understood and achievable," the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy for New Zealand report said.

Climate Change minister Paula Bennett signed the historic Paris Agreement on climate change accords in New York on Saturday.

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