Thursday, 26 November: Greenpeace is today celebrating another win for people power after the new Government announced an impending climate emergency declaration, but says the declaration is empty words unless it’s backed by policy that actually reduces New Zealand’s emissions.
Over 23,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to declare a climate emergency, and Greenpeace says those people will be expecting real climate action.
"When the house is on fire, there's no point hitting the alarm without fighting the fire as well, and fighting the fire in New Zealand means tackling agricultural emissions," says Greenpeace campaigner Kate Simcock.
"Across the world, communities are already feeling the devastating effects of the climate crisis, from wildfires to floods. Any climate emergency response prepared by the Government must be rooted in justice and equality. We cannot leave any community behind," Simcock says.
The announcement came on the same day as the Government’s Speech from the Throne, which outlines the Government’s priorities for this electoral term.
While the Covid recovery features heavily in the speech, Greenpeace says the only mention of New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter, agriculture, is a nod to researching on-farm emissions reductions.
"The Covid recovery presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build back better in a way that tackles the climate crisis at the same time. This Government should be prioritising significant funds for shifting New Zealand’s industrial agriculture sector to a more plant-based regenerative farming approach," says Simcock.
"We already know what’s causing the problem: agribusiness is profiting off climate catastrophe. Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, for example, when applied to land releases more greenhouse gases than our entire domestic aviation industry.
"The first and most obvious step this Government can take to rein in emissions from agriculture is to phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and catalyse a shift to regenerative farming."