Taking Climate Action to the Next Level: Reflections by a UN Climate Chief

 As the ink dries on the Paris Agreement concluded in December, the significance of the event is now being weighed up.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are extremes in views.  At one and the same time, it is an ‘historic moment of hope for humanity’; it goes ‘nowhere near far enough’; and it is even a ‘fraud’. […]

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New marine protection proposals short change our oceans

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The National Government’s proposed overhaul of the Marine Reserves Act 1971 falls well short of what is needed to promote sustainable oceans and fisheries management. New Zealand’s geological history and long geographic isolation means we have an incredibly diverse marine environment with different habitats ranging from subtropical regions such as the Kermadec Islands to the […]

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Indigenous action strong despite weak Paris climate agreement

In my maiden speech to Parliament I said that affirming indigenous rights and supporting our traditional wisdoms is ESSENTIAL to combatting climate change. With the signing of the Paris climate agreement I am surer of that than ever. Around the world indigenous people are at the forefront of the fight to shut down dangerous fossil […]

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The Old Economy is over, but National hasn’t got the memo

There are many shortcomings a committed climate hawk (of which, I am one) could find with the COP21 Paris agreement. There is no legally binding commitment to reduce climate pollution, for example. But the agreement is nonetheless a landmark event. All the countries of the world have signed up to an agreement to limit global […]

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Ensuring robust GE protections must also ensure safety of older technologies

A few weeks ago the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) called for submissions about proposed changes to the classifications and subsequent rules around organisms developed using chemical and radiation treatments and that may be considered products of genetic modification (GE/GMO). Background For many years some plant breeding especially, has used chemical or radiation mutagenesis treatments to […]

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London Climate March

Over the weekend, Green MP Julie Anne Genter took to the streets of London for the People’s Climate March. She was joined by over 100,000 people, including actress Emma Thompson. Talking proportional representation with THE Emma Thompson at #London#ClimateMarch today. We need more democracy! pic.twitter.com/089tvKeOPm — Julie Anne Genter (@JulieAnneGenter) November 29, 2015 Check out […]

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Marching for our climate

Climate March NZ 2015

Being part of the People’s Climate March in Otautahi/Christchurch on Saturday felt like being part of something special, and something quite remarkable because we were part of the world’s largest climate mobilisation involving more than 600,000 citizens. Around 3,000 people gathered beneath the trees and on the grass in Christchurch’s Victoria Square just as thousands […]

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Blueskin Bay: community wind

New Zealand is famed for its wind and it’s used to power our homes and businesses. Often wind electricity comes from large wind farms and huge turbines, but down south a community has worked together to produce their own power from the wind. Blueskin Bay Community Trust has applied for resource consent for their own […]

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What you need to know about Paris in five minutes

From November 30 to December 11, the governments of more than 190 nations will convene in Paris and try to reach a global climate agreement. The generally agreed aim is for that agreement to limit global warming to 2°C. Paris is the very best chance we’ve got to formalise an agreement of weight and ambition, […]

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Why a fair go for solar isn’t hot air

Geoff Simmons, who works with Gareth Morgan, has published a blog post about my Fair Go For Solar Bill. I welcome the debate. I hope tomorrow Peter Dunne will break the 60/60 vote tie in Parliament so we can continue the solar conversation and hear from all those involved around a select committee table. Simmons […]

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New technology and paying for power

The Electricity Authority (EA) has just issued a new consultation report on the implications of evolving technology for pricing of electricity distribution services, in other words how you pay for your local lines. This isn’t some far-away future: new technology like solar is already changing how we use and consume power and I welcome the […]

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People Surge: the Philippines’ Climate Survivors

Yesterday I had the great privilege of hosting Efleda Bautista from People Surge at Parliament. People Surge is a group of 2o,ooo people who are survivors or supporters of communities impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. For Efleda and her communities, climate change is a daily threat as the consequences of this devastating event continue to impact […]

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Fonterra is waking up to the risks of unsustainable dairy feed

It was good news to hear recently that Fonterra has begun to recognise the potential brand damage from dairy farmers moving away from grass-based milk production to rely on unsustainable supplementary feeds such as Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE). Fonterra are establishing and issuing voluntary  guidelines about PKE for farmers to maintain the competitive advantage that […]

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Environment misses out under National’s science investment strategy

Environmental research continues to be the poor cousin in the Government’s National Science Investment Strategy (NSIS) receiving the least of the five major science sectors in 2014 with no commitment to increase future funding for the sector; in contrast with all the other major research sectors. The NSIS promises increased spending on research in manufacturing, […]

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Will New York divest from coal before New Zealand does?

New York City is going the way of California, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut by moving to divest from coal and reconsidering its investments in oil and gas. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week called on his city’s $160 billion pension fund to divest from coal. Divesting from coal posed little risk to […]

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Holding onto Pacific Culture and Language?

The Minister for Pacific Affairs is supporting the value of Tuvalu’s language and culture this week – but in words, not deeds. Despite Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga stating he’s “committed to creating opportunities to share and promote Pacific cultures,” the value of Pacific heritage is consistently being undermined. A single celebratory week does little to […]

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It’s time to work with our Pacific neighbours on a plan for climate change

Today, Ioane Teitiota will be deported to Kiribati after Associate Minister of Immigration refused to intervene against his deportation on humanitarian grounds. He will be returning to a country dealing with the impacts of climate change and sea level rises. The sea is lapping at homes on the islands, the gardens have been deluged with […]

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Gareth Hughes’ solar tour highlights

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I spent my parliamentary recess looking at roofs. Sounds like an Instagram account, I know. There was one thing that the Christchurch suburban bungalow roof; the fancy new-build in Karaka, Auckland roof; the Waikato dairy shed roof; and the Gisborne orchardists’ family home roof had in common – they all had solar photovoltaic (PV) panels […]

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