Climate, energy and contaminants
New Zealand’s demand for energy is increasing, especially as its economy and urban population continue to expand. This places pressure on the local environment and contributes to global carbon emissions. Though all forms of energy generation and use have an impact on the environment, non-renewable energy contributes to increased greenhouse and particulate emissions, which have negative impacts on the environment and human health. New Zealand’s prosperity relies on accessing markets for products derived from using its non-renewable resources sustainably and without compromising environmental quality. Mitigating contaminants and emissions resulting from economic development and increased energy consumption is needed to maintain resource use and reduce impacts of climate change.
It is important that land, water and air are managed to avoid harm to people and the environment. Hazardous substances in soil (contaminants) can have significant adverse effects on human health, and on the quality of soil and water resources.
Global climates are changing as a result of accelerated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate change has the potential to impact significantly on New Zealand’s unique natural environment and its multi-billion-dollar earnings from land-based exports.