New research reveals Kiwis and businesses are complacent about climate change

Latest Gen Less research reveals that in spite of climate-related extreme weather events and the latest IPCC report, Kiwis aren’t taking enough meaningful action to help mitigate climate change.  

New campaign aims to show New Zealanders the collective power we have in shaping the future through the climate actions we take today.

In a world of substantial global challenges, climate change remains one of the biggest we face, but new research released yesterday reveals our nation is increasingly complacent about climate change, with one in five Kiwi adults not believing it’s real and only four in ten respondents believing they could do more.

The research released by EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority), the agency behind Gen Less, shows that despite multiple climate-related natural disasters in recent years together with the IPCC report findings, New Zealanders’ climate change attitudes and actions aren’t becoming any more urgent. 

When it comes to New Zealand businesses, many are feeling pressure from other areas, with well over a third believing that climate change won’t impact their business.

Businesses also see no reason to act, with only around one in five feeling any pressure from customers and suppliers to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and 43 per cent say New Zealand is too small to have any real impact on the environment.

In response to these insights and the increasing urgency to meet New Zealand’s 2030 climate change targets, Gen Less is rallying all New Zealanders to shift from acknowledging climate change is real and present, to actively playing their own part to positively impact our climate future by thinking about their energy use and to get on the ‘right side’ of climate action.

EECA’s GM of Marketing and Communications, Jo Bye, says, “With only eight years left to reach our 2030 targets, there has never been a more crucial time to bring attention to the huge job there is to do for us all to mitigate climate change and shape the lives of our future generations. When everyone acts – government, businesses, communities and individuals – we can drive real impact.”

“Collectively, our small nation can make an invaluable contribution when we live more with less energy. We can tackle climate change and our energy emissions – but we have to shift our thinking and move into action now.”

Emissions from energy make up 41 per cent of New Zealand’s total emissions, and transport makes up 48 per cent of those emissions, but the research showed that many Kiwis believe recycling is going to help more with the climate problem, with 81 per cent favouring this as their most common climate action, compared with higher impact, energy-reducing actions such as driving less (30 per cent) or purchasing products with a low carbon footprint (32 per cent). 

Bye says, “Kiwis should keep their enthusiasm for recycling alive and active as it does have an impact but understand that we won’t recycle our way out of the climate crisis. We need to do more to recognise the highest-priority actions we can each take to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, such as driving and flying less, transitioning to lower-emissions vehicles, purchasing products with a low carbon footprint, and embracing clean energy for businesses.”

“As New Zealanders, we’ve always had a special connection with the land. We know what a precious taonga it is. We know climate change is happening, yet we can feel powerless to stop it. We feel like our actions are inconsequential. But they aren’t. They do matter. We all will leave behind a legacy and the question is will it be positive? What will the sum of our choices say about us? What will history write about our generation? What will my children say I did when they are my age? Would I have done enough? I hope so.”

The Gen Less #RightSideNZ campaign runs for twelve months and will document our country’s progress on tackling energy-related emissions.

The campaign encourages individual and business action on climate change by showcasing historic moments in which New Zealand or the global community have been on the ‘right side’ of history.

It will also showcase climate responses from New Zealanders and businesses who are right now taking positive climate action with clean and clever energy use that time will favour. 

“Over the next twelve months, Gen Less will challenge our team of five million to get on the right side of history when it comes to climate change. We are going to shine a light on the people and organisations that are progressing and getting on the right side of history when it comes to reducing our energy emissions. From businesses going carbon zero to communities finding innovative transport solutions to people embracing a low-carbon lifestyle, many of them are out there, and they can lead by example and help others to feel like they’re not alone on their climate journey,” said Bye. 

For more inspiring ways to use less energy, and for more information, head to genless.

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