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Chris Ford: The Government's climate change target - flooding and other disasters aren't conditional, Mr Groser!

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Chris Ford
Chris Ford

I can't help but express my strong disappointment in Climate Change Minister Tim Groser's declaration that New Zealand will take a highly 'conditional' position of advocating for an 11 percent cut in total carbon emissions based on 1990 levels at the Paris Climate Change talks in December.

How callous is that? I ask this because is climate change really 'conditional?'

I challenge Mr Groser to say that to the people of both South Dunedin and Whanganui who endured serious historic levels of flooding recently.

I challenge Mr Groser to say that to farmers in the upper half of the South Island who have endured drought conditions over the last Summer and to other farmers who endured a once in 70 year drought last year.

I challenge Mr Groser to say that to the millions of our neighbours in the Pacific who stand to become climate change refugees as their lands are claimed by rising seas.

I challenge Mr Groser to say that to the millions of people in Europe and South Asia who are currently enduring a serious, historic heatwave.

And perhaps I challenge Mr Groser to say that to me and other Dunedinites as well as numerous others in both the South and North Islands who have faced having to cancel events due to multiple snow storms recently.

Yes, wild and extreme weather has always been with us. However, with climate change, extreme weather is becoming more common and frequent. It is affecting many more billions of people around the globe. It is disrupting the lives of millions of people, particularly the poorest. According to one eminent scientist, the current round of global warming may have triggered off the beginnings of the sixth mass extinction of almost all life on the planet itself - maybe a very extreme statement to make, yes - but one, nonetheless, we should be all fully aware of!

That's why I agree with the party I belong to, the Greens (alongside other community and environmental groups) who have been calling for New Zealand to adopt a 40 percent reduction on 1990 levels target. For one thing, I did not (alongside other concerned members of my community) sit in the Glenroy Centre in Dunedin on a cold night this past May to not be listened to by Ministry for the Environment officials! It appears that, at this stage, Groser has heeded the advice of his more conservative officials and the corporate carbon lobby to go for this more timid target.

That's why, as the old saying goes, that desperate times call for desparate measures! This is one of those times! Minister Groser needs to hear the sound of all of us who aren't beholden to the propaganda of the corporate climate change deniers again and again. It's 40 percent reduction or planetary bust!

Therefore, it's your choice Mr Groser! Climate change isn't conditional - it's here, now and a growing threat - that is unless you act to take bold leadership and do something bigger such as adopt the 40 percent target!


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