Climate First

The pathway to a post-carbon world

Post-carbon Sam Explained

1. The Head.To keep the world's climate conducive to the comfortable survival of humans and other species the world's temperature must be kept below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

2. Shoulder. According to the IPCC, in order to have a 66% chance of achieving this, global greenhouse gas emissions must be limited to 2900 billion tonnes total. As of 2011, only 1000 billion tonnes remain of the world's carbon budget.

3. Shoulder.  New Zealand at 0.066% of the world's population only has a right to emit 0.066% of this remaining budget, which is 660 million tonnes, but between 2011 and the present we have already emitted half this, leaving only 330 Mtns of our budget for the remaining 32 years before 2050.

4. Chest.  New Zealand is so small that reducing emissions here makes little difference. For the world to stay within its budget, large emitters like China, India and the USA, must reduce, and they won't if small privileged countries like New Zealand continue to emit above their fair share as they do now. Therefore the only difference New Zealand can make is as a model post-carbon country and an example to others.

5. Ribs. In order to be that model, New Zealand must specify a year-by-year emission reduction pathway, so that other countries could see that we were on track to remain within our 660 Mtn budget. This can only be achieved by reducing rapidly to zero net emissions in 2035 and minus 11.2 Mtns by 2038, and then staying at minus 11.2 Mtns through to 2050. By following this Required Emission Reduction Pathway (RERP), the budget overshoot between 2024 and 2035, would be pegged back by the negative emissions between then and 2050, ensuring that New Zealand stays within its fair carbon budget of 330 Mtns between now and 2050.

6. Stomach. Within NZ, reductions of the severity required will only be achieved if the reduction burden is evenly and fairly shared. By this I mean that each of the 5 economic sectors (Agriculture, Energy, Transport, Industrial Processes and Waste) must reduce in accordance with their share of current emissions. For example Agriculture, which is 48% of emissions, must make 48% of the reductions.

7.Genitals. One of the most powerful ways of reducing the world's emissions is to stop increasing population. This applies to the world but also within NZ, where every citizen emits twice the world average. A steady state population would be achieved by encouraging small families and limiting immigration, while accepting our fair share of official refugees. NZ is an 'empty' country and Climate First wants to keep it that way in order to stop humans overrunning the whole earth.

8. A carbon tax of $100. This is the principle means of reducing our emissions, and it would apply to every single tonne of CO2e emitted anywhere in NZ. Businesses would only pay according to how much their emissions were above the RERP. If they were below they would receive a credit.

9. Increased reforestation. This is the key to reaching negative emissions in 2035. The size of the forest sink must be increased by 62,000 ha year on year until 2039, After that the size of the sink must be maintained from then onward.

10.Economic growth slows as a result of the reduction in activity required to reduce emissions enough.

11.A Universal Citizens' Income will be necessary to compensate workers for the fall in economic growth.