DAY 2: Fasts, Forests, and Fossil Fuels

Julie with an empty food trayOn Day 2 of COP21, around 10,000 people from more than 100 countries fasted in solidarity with those who are affected by climate change, as part of the ‘Fast for the Climate’ movement. Fast for the Climate was born after Filipino diplomat Yeb Saño took a stand against climate inaction in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan; since then, Fast for the Climate has travelled across the globe, and Yeb has too – he walked for 60 days from Rome to Paris. Check out Yeb Saño speaking about Fast for the Climate at COP21.

Green MP Julie Anne Genter was one of the 10,000 who fasted.

Co-leader James Shaw had a different sort of day, spending some time getting up close and personal with the text of the agreement. While there’s a draft agreement already written, it contains more than 1000 brackets. Everything inside the brackets is up for debate, so we’ve got a long way to go.

The focusses of today’s negotiations were ‘forests’ and ‘agriculture’ – both of which are important to New Zealand.

Forests have the ability to act as carbon sinks, meaning they draw carbon out of the atmosphere and lower our total pollution – that makes planting more trees and protecting our native forests even more important. The Green Party has a plan to encourage more tree planting – check it out on our one page Yes We Can! policy summary.

Internationally, the way COP addresses deforestation in developing countries falls under a mechanism called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), which aims to protect rainforests from destruction.

Since its conception, the way REDD+ works has posed huge questions about the rights of indigenous communities. New Zealand, as a country that is often held up for enshrining the rights of Maori, should be actively using their knowledge and experience to help the indigenous people fighting for a REDD+ mechanism that protects their rights.

While they’re talking agriculture in Paris it’s a shame that back in New Zealand a review of the cornerstone of the Government’s policy on climate change, the ETS, won’t even include agriculture!

Last but not least, the fossil fuel subsidy reform debacle is still floating around, leaving the Government… sheepish.

Co-leader Metiria Turei asked Todd McClay a Question in the House about it yesterday, and we will be doing the same today. You can watch it online – tune in from 2pm. It will be posted