Pope calls for Government action on climate change

The Pope’s unprecedented call for genuine action on climate change by governments highlights the National Government’s failure to reduce New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today.

“The Pope warns of Governments who mask the problem of climate change rather than implementing genuine solutions, a criticism that speaks to the heart of the National Government’s actions,” Green Party Co-leader James Shaw said today.

The papal encyclical, released overnight, says: “Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change.”

“The Pope has criticised emissions trading schemes which is the National Government’s principle mechanism for supposedly reducing emissions,” said Mr Shaw.

The encyclical says: “The strategy of buying and selling “carbon credits” can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require.”

“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 it was implemented in 2008,” said Mr Shaw.

“It’s time for the National Government to stop being part of the climate problem and start becoming part of the global solution.

“At the global climate negotiations in Paris in December, the Government can do its part for people and the planet by committing New Zealand to an emissions reduction target of at least a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions off 1990 levels.

“As the Pope has highlighted, climate change is not only an economic and environmental issue, but an issue of equity and justice.

“It’s time for the Government to show leadership and develop a climate plan that New Zealanders can be proud of,” said Mr Shaw.


The papal encyclical (in English): http://w2.vatican.va/content/dam/francesco/pdf/encyclicals/documents/pap...

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