Fourteen leading New Zealand aid agencies are launching a campaign to demand political action which will see New Zealand reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
Six weeks out from the General Election, Back the Plan: Back to Zero was launched with an open letter to political parties from a coalition of organisations including Oxfam, World Vision New Zealand and ChildFund.
The letter calls on all parties to follow the lead of countries like the UK and Denmark to put in place binding climate legislation, not only to safeguard New Zealand’s future but that of communities in the developing world who are already on the frontline of climate change.
Rachael Le Mesurier, Oxfam New Zealand executive director says, “There is widespread consensus that safeguarding our planet for future generations means significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
“In our work with vulnerable communities, particularly in the Pacific, we are already seeing the negative impacts of more extreme weather events, temperature changes, rising sea levels and disease outbreaks associated with climate change.”
“If unaddressed, climate change will displace and push millions of people further into poverty.”
A zero carbon act will require any future government to produce policy plans on track to zero carbon, and establish an independent climate commission to provide expert advice.
Taking urgent action to combat climate change is a commitment New Zealand has signed up to internationally, both under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The agencies also warned that climate change threatens to unwind decades of hard-won development progress that New Zealand has contributed towards.
While more than a billion dollars (60% of NZ governmental aid) will be directed to the Pacific through to 2019, climate change is already reversing the positive gains and placing additional pressure on food security.
Le Mesurier continues, “The New Zealand government is rightly supporting development overseas, but it also makes sense for us to do our part in lowering carbon emissions at home.
“We know that we need to reduce emissions globally to curb the effects of climate change.”
“If we don’t play our part, we risk the great work we do in the developing world being undone by the impact of climate change.”
The aid agencies are working hard to reduce the risks communities around the world face due to climate change and natural hazards.
This includes disaster preparedness as storms become more intense, weather pattern changes threaten food security, and people face the long-term loss of their homes.