Time for new Key Government to take strong action on climate

The UN Climate Summit in New York on Tuesday is the final, final chance for John Key to demonstrate New Zealand’s commitment to help secure a safe, stable future for our children, the Green Party said today.

The one-day summit, convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is intended to give countries the opportunity to declare their contribution to the global effort of emissions reduction before negotiations resume for the legal agreement to be reached by late 2015.

“New Zealand has lagged behind most developed countries in specifying a national target for emissions mitigation. Now is the chance to rectify that,” said Green Party climate spokesperson Kennedy Graham.

“In January, the Climate Change Minister Tim Groser refused to announce a target for 2030, when questioned in the House by the Green Party. The European Commission has agreed to a 40 percent cut to carbon emissions from 1990 levels, by 2030. 

“The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has specified cuts by developed countries of between 25 and 40 percent by 2020 to keep global temperature rise below 2°C and avoid dangerous climate change. 

“New Zealand has failed to commit to our fair share of emissions reduction.

“National has specified a five percent cut by 2020 but refused to give a figure for 2030. 

“The main reason is because National has gutted our emissions trading scheme so our net emissions are projected to increase, not decrease.”

The Green Party is committed to net carbon neutrality by 2050.  It is calling for an independent Climate Commission to be set up to determine interim targets for 2020, 2030, and 2040 recommending a credible economic pathway to reach these targets.

“The marches by thousands of people around the planet over the weekend demand this kind of action from all of governments,” said Dr Graham.

“It’s time for New Zealand to step up and take responsibility for doing our share to tackle climate change.

“We have a moral responsibility to act yet taking action on climate change also presents a unique opportunity to transition our economy to a smarter, cleaner, more prosperous future.”