NATALIE JONES NEW ZEALAND YOUTH DELEGATION TO PARIS COP
The UN climate talks in Paris could represent a step forward for the planet, but a big step backwards for New Zealand.
Despite the shock of the recent terror attacks, a universal agreement is still likely to be reached.
The major players are heavily invested in seeing the talks succeed. There’s been considerable progress.
Obama rejected the Keystone pipeline, China and the US have committed to a shared climate vision, and just this week the OECD finalised a historic deal to cut funding for coal-fired power plants.
Key issues are whether the Paris agreement will be sufficiently ambitious to limit climate change to safe levels, and what role, if any, New Zealand will play.
New Zealand is well placed to show leadership and secure the economic opportunities of a global transition away from fossil fuels. Unfortunately, we’re set to do the opposite.
New Zealand’s reduction target for Paris is so lacking in ambition that we could satisfy these obligations through creative accounting alone. We needn’t reduce emissions at all.
Alarmingly, New Zealand is on track to emit more greenhouse gas per capita than the US by 2025.
We could be utilising our expertise in renewable energy to lead multi-billion dollar projects offshore, and embracing the innovative potential of clean tech and electric vehicles.
Yet instead of using Paris as a platform to enhance our reputation and future-proof our economic interests, New Zealand’s strategy involves doing as little as possible. It’s irresponsible, and a wasted opportunity.
The longer we wait to implement real action, the harder it will be, and the more it will cost. The world is moving on, and New Zealand risks being left behind.