By James Shaw, Climate Change Minister and Greens co-leader
OPINION: In Australia last week it was 49.5 degrees. The heatwave that straddled our neighbours has now reached New Zealand, with heatwaves rippling through Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and Nelson, where an all-time temperature record was set.
For years and years our leaders have been warned that climate change, caused by human activity, will lead to more frequent and severe storms, droughts, floods and fires, as well as rising sea levels and coastal inundation.
We know continuing on with business as usual will have a disastrous outcome for planet earth, our economy and our way of life.
That’s why in December I attended and co-facilitated a meeting of world leaders where 194 countries negotiated to ensure that the global community doesn’t tip into a climate change disaster, making our planet uninhabitable for our kids and grandkids.
Here in New Zealand, this Government is committed to doing our part to ensure that we can look our kids and grandkids in the eye and say we tried the best to protect this planet.
As your Green Climate Change Minister, I’ve been coordinating our Government’s response, but much more is needed. We are hoping to build cross-party support for a long-term plan to reach zero carbon. This will mean we’re pulling our weight on the world stage to address this crisis.
New Zealand will be able to hold its head high and say that at a critical cross road, we did the right thing.
We are doing our part on the word stage to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees, slowing the melting of our icecaps that would lead to climate change disaster.
It’s been said that, “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” We must be able to say we did the right thing.
James Shaw is Minister for Climate Change and co-leader of the Green Party.