17 August, 2016

Ratification Can’t Replace Real Action on Climate Change

Three-Fifty Aotearoa is sceptical that New Zealand’s ratification of the Paris Agreement by the end of the year will create any positive change for the climate.

New Zealand’s commitment to the Paris Agreement is to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. “This commitment is ridiculous. It is completely insufficient to meet the Paris goal of no more than 1.5-2 degrees warming,” said Niamh O’Flynn, Executive Director of 350 Aotearoa.

“This is just another way for our government to talk the talk on climate change, without walking the walk. Paula Bennett said that Paris “changed the way people think about climate change,” but it certainly hasn’t changed the way our government fails to act on climate,” said O’Flynn.

“We should be delighted that our government is ratifying this agreement, but since Paris the National Government has only given us reason to be sceptical. The ratification will be meaningless unless real, concrete climate action is taken now.”

“Currently, the only nation-wide mechanism for tackling climate change in New Zealand is the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The ETS allows businesses and industries to trade in carbon credits, and is utterly ineffective.”

“Unlike other carbon trading schemes around the world, the ETS does not apply to all industries and is ineffectively regulated,” O’Flynn added. “Carbon credits stay far below the recommended price and lead to pollution outsourcing in other countries. Worst of all, the ETS is a very poor way of putting a price on environmental destruction.”

“In addition to being ineffective, the government are also actively fueling the climate crisis by undermining international climate discussions, encouraging deep sea oil exploration, signing the TPPA, propping up the coal industry, and penalising the use of renewable energy. The list just goes on.”

“We need to start acting in accordance with the science. The government would do well to remember that the politics has no bearing on the physics of the climate.”