We need a Zero Carbon Capital

Your capital needs you! Have your say on the Zero Carbon Capital plan for Wellington before Friday 10 May. As I write this, 400 Wellingtonians have already had their say. And even if you don’t live in Wellington, there is much to learn from the document.

Source: www.zerocarboncapital.nz, 8pm Sunday May 5 2019

The First to Zero Blueprint is well worth a read, both as an example of what practical action can be achieved at local government level, and also as a really good example of positive values-based framing.

If you live in the Wellington region, let them know you support the plan and they’re on the right track. Because they will need all the encouragement and political capital they can get to move ahead with some of these ideas.

How to make a submission

Go to https://www.zerocarboncapital.nz/ and fill out the survey under Have your say. You can also upload a written submission, or email zerocarboncapital@wcc.govt.nz.

How you answer the survey is up to you, but for what it’s worth I think reducing emissions is more important than offsetting. Could there be more in the plan about encouraging individuals to make their own changes? EG recycling electronic waste, reducing food waste etc. While you’re at it, maybe also give them the message that extending the runway at Wellington Airport ain’t such a good idea?

Positive framing in action

The document does a really good job of framing the context around the urgency for action, for example the impacts from climate change that we are already seeing. It talks about the science in a way that people can relate to

Keep your chin up

The blueprint enrols support by talking about what we are already doing well, for example the Town Belt, lowest carbon emissions per capita in Australasia. It also covers why Wellington needs to act – there are so many small cities in the world that the ones who show leadership on reducing carbon emissions can have a big influence.

Then it moves on to talk about what practical things will make the most difference: low carbon transport, energy efficiency and advocacy for things that need to change elsewhere, such as mandatory energy efficiency rating tools for office buildings and homes.

Source: www.zerocarboncapital.nz, 8pm Sunday May 5 2019

The survey asks people to prioritise the areas where they want to see changes, and tell the Council how important action to climate change is to them.

The great news is that of the 400 people who have completed the survey so far, the overwhelming majority are concerned about the impact of climate change on Wellington, and want the Council to give a high priority to taking action. However, this is just a small fraction of the people who live in Wellington, and many of the people who are most likely to object to the changes needed won’t have bothered to fill out the survey.

So, if you live in Wellington, first of all do fill out the survey – the more voices, the better.

Then skip on over to Planning for Growth, which is asking questions to inform the next District Plan, and have your say on the four scenarios for the city’s future growth. Prioritising development in the inner city and existing suburban centres will help reduce our carbon footprint. Submissions close on 17 May.

If you want to get more involved, we are working on a plan for the local body elections, to identify which candidates will be most supportive of climate action to make it easier to vote for them. We’re also looking at what constraints might exist for local government and where change needs to happen at a national level. Get in touch if you want to help out.

If you live outside Wellington, you can ask your council what they are doing on climate change. Has your council signed the Climate Change Declaration? Are all councillors supportive of climate change action? Make sure you are enrolled to vote, quiz your candidates and then get out and vote.

Author: Catherine Jeffcoat

Wellington-based communications manager.

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