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New Zealand can be a climate leader for Pacific nations

New Zealand can be a climate leader for Pacific nations

New Zealand and Australia can, and must, lead on real action to respond to climate change to save the endangered Pacific Island nations, said the Green Party today.

In an address at Auckland University yesterday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that climate change posed the most serious threat to the livelihoods, security and survival of many island nation residents.

Attending the Pacific Island Forum today, Green Party spokesperson on International Climate Change Issues Dr Kennedy Graham said responding to climate change was not only a deep moral obligation for us, but also an economic imperative for all.

“Pacific Island nations, such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, contribute virtually nothing to global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet they will suffer the most if developed countries like New Zealand do not act to stop dangerous climate change,” said Dr Graham.

“Australia and New Zealand are among the top five worst greenhouse polluters per capita in the OECD.

“John Key’s Government has done next to nothing to respond to climate change, setting the pitiful target of reducing emissions 10-20 per cent by 2020, and introducing no direct mechanisms to transition to a low carbon economy.

“The Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme will reduce emissions by less than one per cent compared to business as usual. Worse still, the Government is planning for an energy future based on mining dirty lignite coal and deep sea oil drilling.

“Nations like Tuvalu and Kiribati are already experiencing the impact of sea level rise and acidification.

“We want our children and grandchildren, and those of Pacific Island families, to all be able to live on a planet with a stable climate.

“We can have a smart green economy that works for everyone, and protects the climate and Pacific Island nations at the same time. For that, we need an ambitious green energy and economic strategy,” said Dr Graham.

The Green Party is developing a plan to create thousands of Green jobs, and details will be released later this month.

Authorised by Kennedy Graham, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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