Wellington City leads on reducing emissions

21 January 2016

Wellington has become the first city in New Zealand and the second city in the world, following Beijing, to launch a 2050 Energy Calculator. It will allow Wellingtonians to explore how energy and transport choices will shape the city’s carbon emissions footprint, and help address climate change.

Wellington Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, says Wellington’s 2050 Energy Calculator is an opportunity for Wellingtonians young and old to learn about, understand, and take action to fight climate change – 20 minutes is all it takes.

“Users can vary 31 ‘levers’ that affect how energy is used and produced in the city– such improving  public transport or increasing the number of solar panel installations.

“The calculator will allow people to see the impact of their choices on Wellington’s emissions pathway, based on scientific data. It covers all parts of the economy and all greenhouse gas emissions released in the city, including non-energy-related emissions.

The calculator framework was developed by the UK government as a way to help understand emissions and address climate change on a global scale. It’s an award-winning tool, user-friendly and completely free. Wellington City Council adapted the calculator in partnership with the National Energy Research Institute and Enspiral.

The British High Commissioner, Jonathan Sinclair, says: “The UK believes that lifestyles can still improve while the world reduces emissions. Our ultimate goal is to keep climate change to 2°C, which is why we developed the 2050 Energy Calculator – a unique, open-source interactive tool – because we can’t afford to leave it till tomorrow.”

Chief Executive of the National Energy Research Institute, Simon Arnold, says: “We hope the calculator will enable and provoke well-informed debate about Wellington’s options for addressing climate change and building a sustainable energy future. The future is uncertain and cities face many important choices and trade-offs, which is why a tool allowing people to explore a wide range of options is vital.”

Wellington City Council is using the calculator to build an energy pathway for Wellington that hits the 80% CO2-e emission reduction target by 2050. The calculator has also proven useful for crafting a more targeted approach to future emissions reduction efforts based on data rather than intuition.

Portfolio leader for Environment and Climate Change, David Lee says: “This calculator is a wonderful example of where the UK and New Zealand are working together to share best practice and is one of many initiatives being undertaken to help meet Wellington City’s emission reduction targets.”