National Government’s snub threatens fair climate deal for Pacific

The National Government is threatening to scupper a fair climate deal in Paris by failing to back a call by Australia and other Pacific nations to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the Green Party said today.

Australia joined forces with Pacific Island nations over the weekend to call on world leaders to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, however, Climate Change Minister Tim Groser has refused to support Pacific allies and join the call for a more ambitious global target.

“New Zealand now stands apart from its Pacific allies,” Green Party MP Gareth Hughes said today.

“The National Government is putting its own short term interests ahead of meaningful action to prevent catastrophic climate damage to Pacific Islands.

“Government Ministers seem more concerned about avoiding serious action on climate change than they do about the fate of our Pacific Island neighbours.

“This is the second time in a week Tim Groser has refused to back close allies, having earlier rejected US President Barak Obama’s appeal for countries to commit to a binding review to improve on current pollution reduction targets.

“It is now widely agreed than many Pacific Islands would be uninhabitable in the future if temperatures are allowed to increase above 1.5 degrees.

“Tim Groser is trying to avoid a review to ratchet up targets because inevitably New Zealand’s inadequate target would have to increase.

“It really looks like National is spending more time at this agreement pandering to vested polluting interests in New Zealand, than trying to find the best global agreement possible.

“New Zealanders want action on climate change that they can be proud of. We don’t want to see our government putting polluters’ interests ahead of the future of our Pacific neighbours,” said Mr Hughes.  

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