Mixed cli­mate mes­sages pre­vail

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JOHN ALLEN

OPINION:

De­spite an over­whelm­ing con­sen­sus by sci­en­tists that cli­mate change is real, and is a con­se­quence of hu­man ac­tions, and that ur­gent ac­tion now is cru­cial, we still get mixed cli­mate mes­sages from our gov­ern­ment.

On the one hand the mes­sage is that we are on track to meet our in­ter­na­tional cli­mate com­mit­ments.

What that seems to mean, is that the 2015 Paris Agree­ment has been rat­i­fied.

Apart from fid­dling with the ETS sys­tem, and spend­ing mil­lions on spec­u­la­tive in­no­va­tions around dairy meth­ane emis­sions, our gov­ern­ment is do­ing lit­tle to en­sure a sus­tain­able fu­ture for our grand­chil­dren.

On the other hand, we have Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, Paula Ben­nett, say­ing on New­shub, that it’s ’’not time for cli­mate leg­is­la­tion yet’’.

Ms Ben­nett was re­spond­ing to re­cent calls to en­shrine in leg­is­la­tion, bind­ing tar­gets to re­duce our car­bon emis­sions.

Youth-led or­gan­i­sa­tion Gen­er­a­tion Zero have called for pow­er­ful new laws to get us on that track with their Zero Car­bon Act.

And a group of ac­tivists wrote the Our Cli­mate Dec­la­ra­tion early this year to de­mand a Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan from the gov­ern­ment that is fit for pur­pose.

Then there is the Cli­mate Con­sen­sus Coali­tion Aotearoa seek­ing sup­port for a cli­mate change ac­tion plan to be ad­vo­cated to Par­lia­ment.

Their goals are to raise public aware­ness of the ur­gency of the cli­mate sit­u­a­tion and to ex­pe­dite a timely, ro­bust and united re­sponse by Gov­ern­ment.

The most re­cent call came last week, from the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sioner for the En­vi­ron­ment, Dr Jan Wright.

Her re­port ‘‘Step­ping stones to Paris and be­yond’’ ex­plored how New Zealand is deal­ing with cli­mate change, with com­par­isons to the UK’s ap­proach.

Since 2008, when the UK passed their Cli­mate Change Act, nine other coun­tries have passed sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion. The con­se­quence? Car­bon emis­sions around the world have stopped in­creas­ing.

Ex­cept in New Zealand, where our emis­sions con­tinue to in­crease.

Dr Wright’s vi­sion is for a cli­mate ac­tion law that en­shrines emis­sions tar­gets in law, and re­quire car­bon bud­gets to be set as step­ping stones to­wards the achieve­ment of those tar­gets.

In re­sist­ing this need, Paula Ben­nett is jeop­ar­dis­ing our grand­chil­dren’s fu­ture.

We can­not rely on law stu­dent Sarah Thom­son’s case be­fore the Welling­ton High Court seek­ing a ju­di­cial re­view of the Min­is­ter’s cli­mate change ac­tions to force Ms Ben­nett in to ac­tion.

That cli­mate ac­tions are now cru­cial, was shown in a study pub­lished on physics.org, ‘‘Earth likely to warm more than 2 de­grees this cen­tury’’ shows a 90 per­cent chance that tem­per­a­tures will in­crease this cen­tury by 2.0 to 4.9° C.

If dan­ger­ous global warm­ing is to be avoided, then we need to be be­low that range, not within it.

Every one of those or­gan­i­sa­tions call­ing for a Cli­mate Act de­serves our sup­port.

And Paula Ben­nett de­serves her mixed mes­sag­ing to be given the boot.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Let­ters should not ex­ceed 250 words and must have full name, res­i­den­tial ad­dress and phone num­ber. Write to Let­ters to the Ed­i­tor, Franklin County News, PO Box 14, Pukekohe or email julie.kaio@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz with your views.

John Allen

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