Ratification of the Paris climate agreement is the starting gun, not the finish line, in the race to avoid dangerous and potentially catastrophic climate change, the Green Party said today.
The comments follow New Zealand's ratification of the Paris climate agreement overnight, which commits the Government to making significant reductions to greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Green Party has been calling for the urgent ratification of the Paris Agreement, so we’re pleased the Government has acted swiftly,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“However, the real challenge for the Government starts now: to reverse the massive rise in carbon emissions that has occurred in New Zealand over the past two decades.
“National needs a rethink of its economic strategy. Carbon emissions have increased 19 percent under National, and they’re still talking about expanding pollution-intensive industries like oil, gas, and intensive dairy farming.
"The Green Party is part of a cross-party working group, that includes National, which is identifying how to transition New Zealand to a cleaner economy.
"New Zealand’s response to climate change will require some big changes, like ending our long-term reliance on imported fossil fuels and shifting to sustainable high-value forms of farming, like organics.
“It's also a huge opportunity. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design more accessible, environmentally friendly cities, invest in fast electric public transport, and build healthier more energy-efficient homes," said Mr Shaw.