Leadership Needed On Climate Change Consensus
Kiwis need the same kind of unified, non-partisan leadership for climate change that we achieved dealing the pandemic, says Aotearoa Climate Emergency (ACE) network.
“Zero new cases today is excellent,” says Phil Saxby. “We need the same kind of unique leadership on climate change – and it should come from all the political parties”.
ACE has written to the Prime Minister and other political party leaders to consider establishing a Citizens Climate Assembly to involve the public in climate change decisions, just as France and the United Kingdom have done this year. It sees these advantages in doing so:
- Non-partisan - like the pandemic, climate change calls for a united national response, rather than partisan politics.
- Practical and Timely - the widespread bushfires of 2019 and 2020 reinforced public alarm about global heating; climate scientists warn of increasing urgency as ice-sheets melt in Greenland and Antarctica; public opinion has swung strongly in favour of climate action, as demonstrated by our huge student strike marches and declarations of climate emergency by NZ Councils.
- Pro-active. Governments almost everywhere have responded to the pandemic with strong action to protect the public from harm. Similarly, global warming requires strong government action.
- Consensus required - a Citizens Assembly could provide the necessary consensus by two means:
(1) becoming a public learning tool on the real dangers and difficulties of global heating seen through the eyes of 100 or so ordinary Kiwis chosen largely at random;
(2) the tendency of such assemblies to converge on practical, consensual solutions.
In February this year, ACE launched its 2020 campaign for a Citizens Assembly on Climate change, in the Waimakariri District. ACE President Phil Saxby says the campaign was based on the idea that meaningful climate change action required a social and political consensus.
Scientists say we have 10 years to arrest global temperatures rising beyond 1.5 degrees. “We think a Climate Citizens Assembly is the best way to reach a climate change consensus, by engaging ordinary people in climate change policy decisions,” says Phil Saxby.
Links: France’s Citizens Convention on Climate, commenced 10 January 2020
For more links, visit www.climateemergency.org.nz