Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country.
Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who are calling on Parliament to complete a risk assessment for New Zealand, and to create plans to address the risks.
Sounds reasonable, right?
Well, they tabled a petition last year asking for such an assessment and yet the National Government still has no plans to do so.
Spokesperson Sir Alan Mark says: “We ask Parliament to address such matters as our heavy dependence on carbon, how another financial crash would affect us, how well our business sector would cope, how the precarious state of our environmental and our social well-being could impact on the nation and hence, the legacy we may be leaving our children. And, because of their interconnectedness, how a crisis in any one area would destabilise the others”.
Today, Wise Response got to address us at the Finance and Expenditure select committee in Parliament. I agree on the need for a risk assessment, with a long term focus – in particular on the risks of climate change.
The 800 scientists who produced the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report – conclude: climate change threatens irreversible and dangerous impacts, but options exist to limit its effects.
To limit the effects of climate change we must immediately and rapidly, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, under the National Government’s current policy settings, New Zealand’s net emissions are predicted to rise 50% in the next decade (p22).
The Green Party recognises the urgency with which we need to address climate change, and we have the policies to transition our economy to a (net) carbon neutral economy by 2050.
A risk assessment for New Zealand is long overdue, but even if National refuses to conduct one, we must keep up the pressure for climate action.