According to new figures released by the government, New Zealand's net carbon emissions rose by a staggering 42 percent between 1990 and 2013. The energy sector is responsible for almost a third of this increase. Set against that background, the government has bewilderingly decided to exclude greenhouse gas emissions from its new national environmental report system this year.
Meanwhile, more than 50 cities across the world including Sydney, Vancouver, San Francisco and San Diego are officially aiming to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy from as early as 2020. Nearly 200 countries are expected to publish strategies to combat climate change in time for the United Nations climate conference in Paris in December this year. Thankfully, New Zealand still has the chance to pick up on this global trend.
New Zealand's leading solar power company has launched a petition, intending to ask Parliament and city councils to work together and work towards powering the nation with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. Germany experiences low solar radiance, and yet 50 percent of the country's power needs were met by solar energy last year. Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest nations, but it is currently installing solar on 60 thousand new homes per month. They hope to be entirely solar powered by 2020. New Zealand is in a great position to make more use of such approaches.
"Historically New Zealand has led the world in the development and integration of renewables into its electricity supply.Now thanks to New Zealand's high power prices solar makes economic sense without government subsidies," says solarcity's founder and CEO Andrew Booth.
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"With 50 percent of our jobs being linked to our clean green image, our addiction to fossil fuels threatens to put one out of every two Kiwis in our nation out of work, seriously damaging the economy and the environment."
solarcity recently launched a programme which it is hoped will be the tipping point for a mass uptake of solar. subZero is based on similar successful programmes in North America, in which homeowners buy solar power directly from their roof at a cheaper rate than traditional power. solarcity covers the cost of the panels, installation, monitoring and on-going repairs.
"Being clean and green is part of our nation's DNA and the faster we embrace renewable energy, the less likely it is that we will have to adopt crisis measures to combat climate change," comments Mr Booth.
More details on how to join solarcity's 100 percent renewable energy petition to Parliament are available here.