The Pope’s call for urgent action on climate change highlights an absence of leadership on climate from the National Government, the Green Party said today.
The Pope is set to release his encyclical on climate change today at noon Vatican time (10:00pm New Zealand time). A draft of the document was leaked on Monday.
“The Pope’s call for urgent action on climate change is further evidence that the National Government is not only out of step with ordinary New Zealanders but increasingly out of step with the rest of the world,” said Green Party Co-leader, James Shaw.
“The Pope is showing inspiring leadership on climate where the National Government is showing none.
“With the Pope joining the chorus of leaders across the globe calling for urgent climate action, National’s track record on the climate is becoming a worldwide embarrassment.
“The Ministry for the Environment estimates that, using National’s current policy settings, New Zealand’s emissions will increase by 50 percent over the next decade.
“Interestingly, the Pope is expected to be particularly critical of emissions trading schemes, which is National’s supposed tool for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mr Shaw.
The UK Guardian newspaper’s coverage of the leaked draft encyclical said:
In a surprisingly specific and unambiguous passage, the draft rejects outright “carbon credits” as a solution to the problem. It says they “could give rise to a new form of speculation and would not help to reduce the overall emission of polluting gases”. On the contrary, the pope wrote, it could help “support the super-consumption of certain countries and sectors”.
“The Pope’s criticisms of emissions trading schemes are particularly relevant to New Zealand where the National Government’s ETS is so weak that net greenhouse gases have increased 13 percent since 2008,” said Mr Shaw.
“New Zealand was the first country where women won the vote. We stood behind our Pacific neighbours in rejecting nuclear testing. It’s time for us to do the right thing again, this time for the climate.”