The NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development has promoted an ambitious but not impossible target:
They propose a 20% reduction in gross emissions unilaterally. That is gross not net. Means planting trees won’t do it. As we are currently at 123% of 1990 levels it means a cut by around one third in just a decade.
They say this could go up to 30% if the following conditions are met:
- Competitors of our trade-exposed, emission-intensive industries are exposed to a price on carbon (vital)
- There is overwhelming participation by developed countries in taking responsibility for 25 – 40% reductions in emissions by 2020 from a 1990 base
- Major developing economies, including China and India, agree to significant reductions in the growth of their emissions below BAU (and they have to be significant, or it is all pissing into the wind)
- The rules for forestry and soil carbon be amended to recognise that equivalent replanting can occur for pre-1990 forests in locations other than the site of the felled forest (also very important and sensible)
I think this is at the upper end of what Government thinks is achievable, let alone affordable. As I said it would be very ambitious to cut gross emissions by a third in a decade.