Australia and New Zealand Green parties call for greater action on climate and inequality at G20

The leaders of the Australian and New Zealand Green parties are calling on their respective governments to take action on climate change and inequality at the G20 meeting in Brisbane this weekend - topics that are absent from the agenda of the meeting of the world’s richest nations.

“The two most significant issues facing the world at the moment are rapidly rising inequality and out of control climate change.  The G20 leaders have their heads in the sand when it comes to resolving both these problems,” said New Zealand Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“The Prime Ministers of our two countries may not be prepared to talk about the issues that are overwhelming the planet, but the Greens are. So are other world leaders. As the G20 host, Tony Abbott needs to get real,” said Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne.

“He’s a climate denier who’s believed his own rhetoric but now he’s suddenly discovering that nobody else thinks the same way as he does. He’s completely isolated.” Senator Milne continued.

“Even before the summit begins, it’s pretty clear the Chinese and Americans have one-upped Australia. They’ve gone around the G20 agenda and put global warming up front anyway.

“The fact is, if you’re going to have a healthy economy any growth that you talk about has to be inclusive of everybody, not just the rich and the big end of town, and it has to be ecologically sustainable. In the face of climate change that means decoupling economic growth from fossil fuel resources.

“Australia has to get serious about global warming and addressing inequality, but we have a government that is only prepared to govern in the interests of the big corporates and the big end of town, against the interests of ordinary people,” said Senator Milne.

“A recent OECD report found the welfare of New Zealand children had gone backwards since the recession, with increased reports of people running out of money for food, and even the New Zealand Prime Minister admitting that nearly a fifth of all children are suffering from material deprivation,” said Dr Norman.

“New Zealand has the fifth highest emissions per capita in the OECD and they are increasing. A Ministry for Environment report released this month shows a 50 percent increase in New Zealand’s projected net emissions.

“Neither of our Governments are doing their bit to combat climate change, and allowing the G20 to proceed without a meaningful commitment to reduce emissions will relegate the meeting to be a failure.

“Climate change and inequality are economic issues. Failure to develop economic strategies that address both will see countries’ economies move backwards.

“What use is an economic plan that leaves most of the people behind and compromises the future of the world in the process?” said Dr Norman.