The National Government’s plans for emissions reduction will melt Antarctica if all other countries follow our lead, the Green Party said today.
New research published today in Nature magazine led by Nick Golledge, at Victoria University’s Antarctic Research Centre, has confirmed that Antarctica’s ice cap will melt unless ambitious action is taken to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next five years.
“If most countries followed New Zealand’s lead, global warming would exceed 3–4°C leading to major losses of the Antarctic ice sheet,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“We need to take to Paris a target sufficient to limit global warming to below 2°C.
“A climate reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels enables us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the world to fight climate change.”
Dr Golledge’s told National Radio this morning how a small rise in the sea level leads to increased storm surges and flooding. A 10cm rise in the sea increases major flooding events by a factor of three. Three decades of small levels of sea level rise means New Zealand could experience a major flooding event every two weeks.
“We have a duty to protect our children’s future. National is failing to make the worst polluters responsible for the mess they’re creating for our kids and future generations,” said Mr Shaw.
“The Green Party has put forward an alternative, achievable emissions reduction target that we can take to Paris to help secure a better future for us and our children.
“I want to sit down with National and Labour to achieve a cross party consensus on the climate as it’s the only meaningful and enduring way we can stop the damage we’re doing to the climate,” Mr Shaw said.
New Zealand’s current climate target is insufficient: