Greenhouse gases down but more work to do

A new report shows that gross greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are down by 11% across Lower Hutt and there has been a 19% drop in emissions on a per capita basis.

The report by infrastructure firm AECOM covers 2001 to 2019 and was commissioned as part of a region-wide assessment of GHG emissions.

Increased GHG emissions are the main driver of climate change and the government has committed to reduce these to zero by 2050.

Lower Hutt contributed 13% of the Wellington region’s total gross emissions and transport continues to be the biggest source of emissions comprising almost 56% of total gross emissions. Electricity and gas consumption is the second largest emitter at around 31%. Other emission sources include waste, industry and agriculture.

(Lower Hutt GHG gross emissions split by sector).

Hutt City Council’s Manager of Sustainability and Resilience Jörn Scherzer says the report provides useful information for Council and the community. “It’s important to have information like this to check we’re tracking in the right direction in reducing our carbon footprint.

“As the share of renewables increases in electricity generation, it is pleasing to see that this is bringing down the city’s emissions associated with stationary energy.

“By doing things like opting for electricity to heat homes and water, or using other low carbon sources such as wood pellets, residents and businesses can help accelerate the trend of lowering emissions.

“Overall the results are positive and are in line with a number of actions being taken by Hutt City Council to reduce its own organisational emissions to zero by 2050. This includes moving away from gas heating in new builds for facilities like pools and increasing the number of electric vehicles in the Council fleet as cars and trucks are replaced.

Councillor Josh Briggs, who also chairs Council’s Climate Change Working Group says the report shows good progress so far, but that there is more work to do.

“There’s still more work to do though if we’re going to get to zero carbon. Walking and cycling, for example, and greater use of electric vehicles will reduce emissions over time,” Cr Briggs says.

“All of this work, as well as other action is part of the reason why Council has established a Climate Change Working Group. As a Council we’ve declared a climate emergency, and we know this is a priority for our community.”

The information in the GHG inventory report will be valuable as Hutt City Council begins work with the community to help the transition to carbon zero by 2050.

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