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Time's up on climate response - Office of the Maori Climate Commissioner

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The time for rhetoric is over and meaningful action must begin immediately after a damning report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says Maori Climate Commissioner Donna Awatere Huata.

The newly-released IPCC report highlighted that human influence is responsible for the unprecedented warming of the climate, with levels of CO2 in the atmosphere now higher than at any time during the last two million years. The report outlines a wide range of impacts - from sea-level rise and increased incidents of flooding, to higher temperatures, drought and more frequent ‘fire weather’- of the 1° rise in temperature caused by human actions since the pre-industrial era, which will become increasingly worse without significant international commitment to emissions reduction.

Commissioner Awatere Huata, says the IPCC report has highlighted the stark reality of the burning planet - one which has become all-too evident to indigenous peoples across the globe.

"It is no longer enough to speak of generational challenges and future aspirations," says Commissioner Awatere Huata. "Climate change is not only undeniably real and human-made, it is here now, and will only get worse for every year we delay taking concrete action across every part of our society."

Commissioner Awatere Huata says Aotearoa has been woefully short on meaningful change, but still has an opportunity to show genuine leadership in its response to climate change.

"Papatuanuku is crying, the planet is burning - we are creating the greatest catastrophe the earth has ever experienced and we can no longer shrink from the responsibility we have for future generations," says Commissioner Awatere Huata.

"But through true partnership between Maori and Pakeha, where Matauranga Maori is used to restore and renew Aotearoa - bringing new life to our waterways, land, flora and fauna, we have the opportunity to build a model that can help heal the world.

"This could be a foundation for both providing support for the needs of indigenous peoples, who are already bearing the impact of climate change at a disproportionate level, and increasing their fair and just participation in the carbon economy.

Commissioner Awatere Huata says the alternative to standing up and making meaningful change is to be left far behind the rest of the world and our hollow words being exposed for what they are.

"Over the weekend, environmental activist Greta Thunberg called out the disparity between New Zealand’s words and actions as she highlighted the impact the dairy industry is having on the country’s emissions," says Commissioner Awatere Huata.

"We should be recognising the truth of her comments and using the international shaming to spur us into action, not claiming we haven’t yet had time to act or seeking to exempt ourselves from making our share of emissions reductions because our economy is focused on producing high-priced food for the world’s wealthiest people."

"It’s well past the time to use the report and the opinion of the global community as inspiration to do more than the barest minimum, and stand up to show Aotearoa is worthy of the mantle of leadership, partnership and our ‘clean, green’ reputation."


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