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Climate Change Petition Presented to Parliament


Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand


8 December 2009

Kiwis for 350 Climate Change Petition Presented to Parliament

The Kiwis for 350 climate change petition to the House of Representatives was presented at Parliament on Monday, hours before the start of the UN climate change summit underway in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Petition organiser Nicky Chapman, a Catholic mother of four from Dunedin, said the petition was a simple call for the government to acknowledge a safe target for atmospheric greenhouse gases and then work knowledgeably and positively to get there. “It’s about being focussed, informed, active – and creative,” she said.

Caritas joined Nicky Chapman and 350Wellington representatives to deliver the petition to Greens co-leader Russel Norman for presentation to the House, with Labour MP Grant Robertson and National MP Hekia Parata also present.

Caritas Director Mike Smith said the Catholic social justice agency was concerned about climate change “because it impacts on the poorest people first – and often they experience it the worst”. The international Caritas network represented at Copenhagen was calling for a treaty agreement that would lead to atmospheric CO2 equivalent levels below 350 parts per million, cut industrialised countries’ emissions by more than 40 percent by 2020, and provide much increased funding for developing countries to adapt to climate change and develop sustainably.

Nicky Chapman said the 3133 signatures had been gathered in just 3 weeks. But she said it represented “only a tiny part of a huge choruses of voices throughout this country and globe ...  those other voices also call to be heard.”

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In receiving the petition, Russel Norman said such petitions are about citizens of the world standing up and speaking out – not as members of any one nation, but as human beings. “The people of the world are demanding that leaders of the world put aside their special interests,” he said, and seek the interest of the world as a whole.

The petition had been particularly promoted through Church parishes and schools by Caritas and Christian World Service.

Speaking on behalf of the Presbyterian Church, climate change commentator Dr Jonathan Boston said human beings have a God-given duty to care for the created order as good stewards. “Human beings do not own this planet, but rather hold it in trust for future generations,” he said.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.


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