© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Climate Change, a problem on the rise

Delphine Herbert
Glacier (file photo)  Pexels

Carbon emissions are at their highest in 650,000 years, water levels are rising and the weather is getting warmer, hear what the experts have to say.

Climate change is happening all around us but experts say not enough is being done to help save our planet.

Deputy Chairperson of Environment of Canterbury Steve Lowndes is encouraging people to  start acting now to “Make the decisions and don’t put them off...before it’s too late.”

Lowndes says globally, our emissions are very low. But individually New Zealand’s Per Capita emissions are high. He says it’s because most families in New Zealand have multiple cars which is making our carbon footprint rise.


Facts and figures:

  • There has been an increase in extreme weather. In April 2017 cyclone Debbie damaged 164,270 homes, displaces 2470 people and killed 6 people. (Caritas Report 2017)

  • Species extinction is happening faster than normal

  • The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass

  • The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century

  • The acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent

Source- NASA.


University of Canterbury Sustainability Advisor Matt Morris, says most of the world's population now live in cities and that has a massive impact on our environment. Morris thinks we need to find way to make our cities more sustainable.

“This is the challenge for 21st Century, we have gone blindly for 150 years just wreaking havoc on this planet and now is the time, we don’t have more time to muck around with this.”

He is concerned that if we don’t start adopting measures now there's not going to be much of a future for generations ahead.

Morris says people understand that there are negative environmental impacts happening around them.

“I honestly don’t think that people have any awareness of the scale of the catastrophe that we are confronting right now.”

Experts are concerned about carbon emissions as they have already made a severe impact and is one of the biggest issues surrounding climate change.

Yet in Christchurch, an estimated $900 million dollars is being spent on a number of new motorways that are under construction.

“I honestly think that one of the most impactful things people can do is to look at their transport choices…. Carbon emission is the issue of our time.” says Morris.

He expresses that people can take small steps to help the environment, such as having a re-usable coffee cups and planting trees.

Morris thinks the best thing that people can do to make an impact individually is rethinking their transport choices, such as using public transport, biking, waking or getting a hybrid or eletric car.