Planetary Ecology

Why did New Zealand’s CO2 emissions blow out so spectacularly in 2019?

Robert McLachlan Apr 18, 2021

Every year in April, the trees start changing colour, the clocks go back an hour, and the national greenhouse gas figures are released and promptly forgotten. They take fifteen months to prepare, so by the time they come out it’s very easy for commentators to point out that they are out of date. Even now that the national media are … Read More

Recreation Transition: low-carbon recreation in the mountains

Guest Author Apr 07, 2021

By Jamie Stewart, Federated Mountain Clubs Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC), founded in 1931, represents 96 clubs, 22,000 members and 300,000 people that regularly recreate in the New Zealand backcountry. This article first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Backcountry magazine and is reproduced with permission. (Read the original article). See also “EVs for mountain recreation” ( … Read More

Many New Zealand species are already at risk because of predators and habitat loss. Climate change makes things worse

Guest Author Mar 24, 2021

Cate Macinnis-Ng, University of Auckland and Angus Mcintosh, University of Canterbury Islands are biodiversity hotspots. They are home to 20% of the world’s plants and animals yet cover only 5% of the global landmass. But island ecosystems are highly vulnerable, threatened by habitat fragmentation and introduced invasive weeds and predators. Climate change adds to all these stresses. In our … Read More

Way to go: Electrifying advice from the Climate Change Commission

Robert McLachlan Feb 05, 2021

The Climate Change Commission’s draft advice on how to decarbonise New Zealand’s economy is refreshing, particularly as it calls on the government to start phasing out fossil fuels instead of relying on offsets and carbon trading. Until now, New Zealand has relied heavily on its Emissions Trading Scheme, but the evidence is clear that it has failed … Read More

Geyserland: Or, What happened at Taupō

Robert McLachlan Jan 06, 2021

I don’t know Taupō well. Even though I stop off there from time to time, I’m always on the way to somewhere else. Usually Taupō means making a hot water puddle in the gritty sand followed by a swim in the lake, noticing with bemusement and resignation the traffic, the parasailing, and the hole-in-one game. Sometimes a random, generic motel. Read More

Climate emergency or not, New Zealand needs to start doing its fair share of climate action

Robert McLachlan Dec 02, 2020

Following this week’s climate emergency declaration, New Zealand will have to face up to the fact it has one of the worst climate records of industrialised nations. Of 43 industrialised countries — known as Annex 1 countries — 31 are experiencing a drop in emissions. But 12 have seen net emissions increase between 1990 and 2018, and New … Read More

New Zealand weighs up a nation-sized battery

Guest Author Oct 21, 2020

Ian Mason and Robert McLachlan Climate change was a small but perceptible part of the recent election. On climate change, Labour pointed proudly to their record of legislating for net zero emissions by 2050 (nicknamed the ‘Zero Carbon Act’), establishing a Climate Change Commission to set carbon budgets and advise the government, and for strengthening the Emissions Trading Scheme by … Read More