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New Zealand IP#5 SCIE210

IP#5

Donna Rothmann-Ranels

American Intercontinental University

New Zealand IP#5 Abstract New Zealand has several environmental issues. Some of those problems are climate changes, pollution, air and water quality and invasive species. This paper will cover climate change and air quality.

New Zealand IP#5 Introduction The country I have chosen is New Zealand. New Zealand has several high priority environmental issues. Some of those issues are biodiversity, climate change, pollution, land, energy, water, and waste and hazardous substances (Environment 2010 strategy, 2010). The two issues I will discuss are climate change and water quality. Climate Change Gases released into the air are enhancing the greenhouse effect at a rapid rate. This could extremely damage the economic, biophysical, and social systems of New Zealand. Two gases in the atmosphere that are growing at alarming rates are carbon dioxide and methane. New Zealands goal is to stabilize the concentrations in the atmosphere from greenhouse gases to reduce the risk of global climate change. Climate change is a concern for every country. Human activity has caused changing climate conditions (About climate change, n.d.). Increasing industrialization and human activity have started to affect the natural climate balance. Because of these activities the amount of greenhouse gases has increased in the atmosphere causing the Earth to heat up and retain that heat. This is called Global warming. This increase in heat and greenhouse gases could cause major events like storms, floods, droughts, landslips and cyclones (About climate change, n.d.). Climate change affects many areas of a country. Those areas include ecosystems, health, biosecurity, infrastructure, economy, and society. New Zealand is committed to doing what it needs to do to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is one of their main environmental priorities. This year, 2011, New Zealand wants to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases by 50% by the year 2050. Their goal is to reduce their greenhouse gases by 10-20% by 2020.

New Zealand IP#5 The government in New Zealand has set up a policy called the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. This policy was developed to support global efforts to reduce

greenhouse gas emissions. The NZ ETS encourages people to plant forests to absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The NZ ETS set a price on greenhouse gas emissions so that people had an incentive to try to reduce the amount that was being released. New Zealand is committed to exploring innovative and technological solutions to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. They are increasing their research to find practical technologies to reduce the amount of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture and farming. New Zealand has set up the Global Research Alliance. This alliance will bring countries that are interested in reducing greenhouse gases together for collaboration and to drive cooperation and research (Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, n.d.). New Zealand implemented the Kyoto Protocol which says that they have to reduce their level of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels. If they can not do this they will be held accountable. There is a Resource Management Act the requires councils to consider the effects of changing climate on their communities and to include climate change into their frameworks, projects, plans, and any decision making. The Ministry for the Environment has programs in place to help with guidance on how to better understand and include climate change effects when performing day to day activities (Adaptation and local government, n.d.). The Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry support many projects that help the agriculture sector adapt to climate change. Holding people and business accountable for their contributions to the greenhouse gases may decrease they amount that is being released. If incentives are given for people who take steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emission, they might be more willing to comply.

New Zealand IP#5 More people have been killed in 2010 by natural disasters than by terrorists attacks in the last 40 years. That was the deadliest year in more than a generation (Borenstein, 2010). Scientist says that the Earths climate is changing because of manmade global warming. This man-made global warming is bringing about extreme weather and natural disasters (Borenstein, 2010). More than 220,000 people died in an

earthquake in Haiti. Russia experienced a heat wave, and Pakistan experienced flooding. Scientists believe that these events would not have happened without global warming. White house science adviser said that we can expect more damaging events unless societies reduce their emissions and heat trapping gases (Borenstein, 2010). Air Quality New Zealands air quality is relatively good except in the cities and towns where air pollution is very high (Air quality, n.d.). Air pollutions occurs when there is not much wind and in high traffic areas. Many homes in New Zealand are heated by open firs or wood burners. A build up of contaminants and chemicals in the air that can harm our health is air pollution (What is air pollution, n.d.). Humans take about 26,000 breaths each day. They inhale 14,000 litres of air (What is air pollution, n.d.). The government of New Zealand introduced the national environmental standards for air quality. There are 14 standards which includes; seven standards that ban activities that discharge large quantities of dioxins and other toxics into the air, five standards for ambient air quality, and a design standard for new wood burners to be installed in urban areas (National environmental standards for air quality, n.d.). The Ministry promotes a clean air program. Tools included with this program are the national environmental standards for air quality, monitoring and reporting on air quality, reducing vehicle emissions, air

New Zealand IP#5 quality indicators and incentives, research, and information on clean forms of home heating (Clean air program, n,d.). The goal of the Ministrys clean air program is to maintain or improve New Zealands air quality, increase the understanding of air quality

and its effects on human health and the environment, promote the importance of clean air and to develop approaches to sustainable air quality management (Clean air program, n.d.). The Resource Management Act (1991) promotes the sustainable management of New Zealands natural and physical resources. This Act also says that air, water, soil, and the ecosystem must be safeguarded (Roles and responsibilities, n.d.). Under this Act councils and authorities are responsible for managing air quality. I did not come across any issues with implementing this act. I think if you hold people accountable for their actions and penalize them if they do not follow the rules you will find that they will care about the environment. Scientific Evidence Over 970 people die each year in New Zealand due to air pollutions. These people are aged more than 30. Many people in New Zealand experience restricted activity days due to absences from school or work due to respiratory symptoms. One city alone (Christchurch) estimates that their population experiences between 300,000 and 600,000 restricted activity days a year. That is an astronomical amount of missed days. Conclusion Many countries face these same environmental issues. Everyone needs clean air to breath. Climate changes will affect many aspects of the environment. Taking steps now to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases could sustain the future of New Zealand.

New Zealand IP#5 Also putting steps in place to clean up the air in New Zealand will help reduce the number of restricted activity days and help make the population strive.

New Zealand IP#5 References About climate change. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/about/index.html Adapting to climate change. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/adaptation/index.html Adaptation and local government. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/adapatation/local-govt.html Air quality. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz./issues/air

Borenstein, S. (2010). 2010s world gone wild: quakes, floods, blizzards. Retrieved from http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2010/12/19/5677988-2010s-world-gone-wild-quakesfloods-blizzards Clean air program. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/air/program Environment 2010 strategy. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.cyberplace.org.nz/environmentl/env2010.html National environmental standards for air quality. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/laws/standards/air-quality/index.html Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/policies-iniatives/index.html Roles and responsibilities. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/air/responsibilities.html

New Zealand IP#5 What is air pollution? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/air/breathe/ Smith, N., Dr. (n.d.). A bluegreen vision for New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.national.org.nz/bluegreens/A%20Bluegreen%20Vision%20for%20New %20Zealand.pdf