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The clock is ticking on our carbon budget – Jonathan Boston

Posted in Reflections On Science on October 11th, 2016.

Now that the Government has ratified the Paris Agreement, the clock is ticking on action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, writes Victoria University Professor of Public Policy Jonathan Boston on

Jokulsarlon Lagoon Iceberg IcelandAn excerpt (read in full):

Imagine allocating the remaining global carbon budget of about 260 billion tonnes on a per capita basis. New Zealand’s share of the world’s population, of roughly 7.5 billion, is around 0.06 per cent. Assuming every person has equal rights to use the global atmosphere, our share of the global budget would be roughly 150 million tonnes of carbon. At current annual emission rates,of nearly 10 million tonnes of carbon, this budget will be exhausted just after 2030.

This calculation excludes our non-carbon emissions, which represent about half of New Zealand’s total greenhouse emissions. It also excludes emissions from international aviation and shipping.

Nevertheless, suppose New Zealand’s share is about 150 million tonnes of carbon. Are the government’s targets consistent with living within this budget?

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