Solutions to Global Warming in Australia and New Zealand
Solutions to global warming in Australia include aggressively reducing coal dependence while simultaneously implementing a price on carbon emissions and a national renewable electricity standard; solutions for New Zealand include reforestation and sustainable farming.
Australia has one of the world's highest per capita global warming emissions rates, as well as vast coal reserves that make it the largest exporter of coal in the world. While coal is also New Zealand's most abundant fossil fuel, the island nation generated 73 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2009. New Zealand's biggest source of emissions is from its agricultural and forestry sectors.
Global warming impacts already underway in Australia and New Zealand include water stress, shrinking glaciers, rising sea level, regional disturbances in rainfall patterns, and increased frequency and intensity of fires and heat waves. Because of these impacts and its contributions to global warming emissions, this region must take swift action to curb global warming emissions.
Because of these impacts and its contributions to global warming pollution, it is critical that this region take swift action to curb global warming emissions.
Australia and a National Renewable Electricity Standard. One step Australia has taken to reduce its global warming emissions is implementing a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). The Australian government set a mandatory renewable energy target of 9500 gigawatt hours by 2010 and a commitment to reach 20 percent of national electricity supply from renewable sources by 2020. The country is also pursuing demonstration projects in carbon capture and storage from coal burning power plants. These types of demonstration projects are critical to determining the potential role that carbon capture and storage technology can play in curbing global warming emissions from coal. Finally, Australia is taking steps to put a price on carbon emissions.
New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme. The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is one of only a few carbon trading systems in the world. The New Zealand approach requires emissions sources to buy credits to cover their emissions, and allows sources that reduce emissions to sell credits. Because agriculture and forestry represent a major source for New Zealand green house gas emissions, tree planting and sustainable farming (including livestock farming) are key parts of the ETS.