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Extreme weather “picture of the future”

Extreme weather “picture of the future”

The Green Party is accusing the Government of systematic inaction over climate change, as New Zealand scientists warn the extreme weather battering the country is a “picture of the future”.

“The extremes of weather we’re seeing fit with predictions. Climate change is not some distant threat. It is happening now in the form of extreme weather and it is costing communities,” said Green Party climate change spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham.

Dr James Renwick, Associate Professor at Victoria University’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, has described the high winds and heavy rain of the last two days as “a picture of the future”.

“While one single weather event cannot be definitively linked to climate change, scientists are very clear – we can expect more frequent and intense weather events,” said Dr Graham.

“Rising temperatures mean when storms come, they are more severe. The risk is going up all the time.

“Every extreme weather event should be treated as a wakeup call. The consequences of inaction are too high. We need to act now.

“Yet the National Government remains asleep at the wheel on climate change, implementing neither strong climate change mitigation policies, nor appropriate measures for adaptation.

“New Zealand’s emissions continue to climb, and there is no national strategy to deal with the increasing threat of extreme weather.”

An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report out earlier this year predicted a 2-4 degree Celsius rise in average temperatures in New Zealand by the end of the century, meaning increased risk of wildfire, storms, floods, landslides and sea level rises.

“National has failed to face up to this reality – in fact its policies are compounding the problem,” said Dr Graham.

The Green Party announced last week it was making climate change an election issue.

“We are the only political party with a win-win plan to tackle climate change while leaving households better off,” said Dr Graham.

“Our Climate Tax Cut will reduce our emissions and ensure New Zealand is part of the solution rather than remaining part of the problem, all while delivering Kiwis a tax cut.”

National’s response to the Climate Tax Cut was described in a Dominion Post editorial as “lazy and arrogant” and by a leading business commentator as “mildly hysterical”.

For more information on the Green Party’s Climate Tax Cut, go to www.greens.org.nz/climateplan


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