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What part Dunedin will play in tackling climate change has become a little clearer.
At a meeting of the Dunedin City Council's planning and environment committee this week, councillors voted to adopt a target of a 100% reduction in net carbon emissions by 2050, excluding methane for now.
The adoption of the target meant the council met its requirements as part of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and any zero carbon emissions policy for New Zealand that the Government is investigating.
A report prepared by council senior policy analyst Bill Frewen initially gave councillors three options for reducing emissions by 2050: a 100% net reduction excluding methane or an 80% net reduction including methane, both of which would be achieved through local and national carbon offsets and a reduction in emissions; or delaying adopting a target but taking feedback on the options presented.
In his report, Mr Frewen highlighted that, unlike cities such as Auckland and Wellington, almost half of Dunedin's emissions came from the agricultural sector, which was mostly methane.
Cr Aaron Hawkins put forward a motion that the council adopt a net zero carbon emissions-reduction target, excluding methane, by 2050 and develop a series of targets as a pathway, as a matter of urgency.
Any methane-reduction targets would be set in line with the outcomes of the Government's Zero Carbon Act consultation process.
Cr Hawkins said the target was the least the city could do.
''2050 is by no means an ambitious target; it is the bare minimum. There are far larger cities with far larger challenges in this space that are committed to doing far more and faster. This is the very least we can do.''
Offsets alone would not achieve the zero carbon target and a significant systematic and behavioural change would still be needed, he said.
Cr Lee Vandervis said the idea that the city could reduce its net emissions to zero by 2050 was ''pie in the sky'' and more practical solutions needed to be pushed.
Cr Andrew Whiley said while he was in favour of parts of the motion, he could not support it because there were not enough details on how to achieve it.
Both Cr Vandervis and Cr Whiley said they supported option three.
Cr Chris Staynes said the city was already making changes to reduce its carbon emissions, such as changing to LED street lighting, and the target gave the council a mandate to seek out and promote new ideas for reducing carbon emissions.
The committee voted 11 to four to adopt Cr Hawkins' motion. Cr Vandervis, Cr Whiley, Cr Mike Lord and Cr Doug Hall voted against.