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It is a climate emergency, now let’s act like it

Greenpeace is claiming the Government’s symbolic declaration of climate emergency as a "win for people power", but is challenging Jacinda Ardern and her Government to follow through quickly with policy and action to cut New Zealand’s climate pollution.

A Greenpeace petition calling for the Government to declare an emergency and act on it has 23,580 signatures. Greenpeace agriculture and climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says those people will be expecting bold action from the Government.

"From floods to fires, the climate crisis is on our doorstep, and every country has a responsibility to act immediately. For Jacinda Ardern’s climate emergency declaration to be more than just words, that means tackling New Zealand’s largest source of climate pollution: agriculture," says Simcock.

Simcock highlights the need for climate action to be inclusive.

"We know the climate crisis will most deeply affect already-marginalised groups, and we know states of emergency have, in the past, been used unjustly to override civic participation. That’s why any climate action put forward by the Government in response to this climate emergency declaration must be inclusive and must centre the experiences of historically marginalised groups, including Māori, Pacific and disabled communities."

Simcock says that in order to cut New Zealand’s climate pollution, the Government must phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and fund a widespread shift to regenerative agriculture.

"When applied to land, synthetic nitrogen fertiliser releases more greenhouse gas emissions than New Zealand’s domestic aviation industry. Agribusinesses like Ravensdown and Ballance continue to profit from almost half a million tonnes of this climate-wrecking chemical being used each year," says Simcock.

"We know there are better ways of farming than the monoculture industrial methods that dominate today. The Government must support farmers to shift to regenerative farming, so we can grow food in a way that’s good for our climate, rivers and people’s health."

Greenpeace is calling for the Government to use its Covid Recovery Fund to invest in a widespread transition to regenerative agriculture, and has put forward a suite of policy recommendations for the Government to enact if it is serious about addressing the climate and nature crises.

"The Covid Recovery Fund is an unmissable opportunity to make bold changes in New Zealand that can cut climate pollution, restore nature and make Aotearoa a better place to live for everyone," says Simcock.

"This has been a year of emergencies, from Covid to the climate crisis. Now we need strong, forward-thinking action from the Government to ‘build back better’ from Covid while cutting climate pollution, especially from agriculture."

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