A new official report detailing potentially irreversible impacts of climate change in New Zealand show why the next government must act urgently to cut climate-damaging pollution, the Green Party said today.
The 2017 Atmosphere and Climate report states that climate change is already potentially irreversibly affecting New Zealand. It says that climate impacts to date include:
· Our glaciers shrinking by almost a quarter of their volume.
· Coastal seas rising by 22 cm.
· A more acidic ocean off the coast of Otago, threatening marine life.
· Drier soils at around one fifth of monitored sites.
· Increasing numbers of invasive wasps around Nelson.
“We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last that can stop it. We have a responsibility to act to ensure the worst impacts of climate change don't come to pass," said Green Party climate change spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“This report shows that climate change isn’t something to worry about in the future – it’s here now.
“A changing climate will fundamentally alter nearly every aspect of our life from the health of our oceans, our native species, plants, rivers and coastal properties.
“We may be a small country but we can no longer continue to let emissions rise. Small countries like us make up a quarter of global emissions. We all have a responsibility to do our fair share.
“Taking action on climate change is a huge opportunity for New Zealand, creating new jobs in clean industries and safeguarding our country’s future.
“We have an opportunity to position New Zealand to become world leading in truly sustainable, low-emission farming, clean energy and technology.
“No one I've talked to wants their child to inherit a world with longer droughts and drier rivers. Everyone and all parts of our economy need to be part of the solution," said Ms Genter.