Council targets climate change
The 775,000 native trees and shrubs planted by Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana and volunteers in the past financial year are expected to remove 307,515 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 80 years. Ministry for the Environment figures show New Zealand’s total (gross) emissions are equivalent to 7.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a person each year. Acting regional council general manager of integrated catchments Laverne Mason said since the regional council declared a Climate Change Emergency in 2019, a key focus has been to invest in natural carbon storage. “We had a great planting season this past financial year by taking advantage of co-funding opportunities with partners like the Ministry of Primary Industries’ One Billion Trees programme and the Ministry for the Environment’s Jobs for Nature fund. “While we achieved a lot in the past financial year, we are on track to surpass that number this financial year and are aiming to plant more than 880,000 plants.” In addition to planting trees, the regional council is also aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050, has committed $1.8 million to funding mitigation and adaptation projects and is working to prepare and adapt the community to climate change-related challenges. “Climate change projections for the Bay of Plenty region show that we will experience more days with temperatures over 25 degrees, fewer frosts and more rain. “We will see more extreme flooding events, unpredictability in our weather and sea levels rising. It is important we tackle climate change head on and work to mitigate and adapt now,” Mason said. The regional council couldn’t have achieved this planting result without help from its many volunteers and Mason expressed her thanks for their continued support.