Paula Bennett, the incoming climate change minister, has a big challenge to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement by increasing New Zealand’s efforts to prevent climate disruption, according to Forest & Bird.
“This will require the Government committing to bold emission reductions and preparing a plan for how to get there,” said Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell.
“We welcome the Paris Agreement as it puts in place ambitious goals to keep global warming well below 2 degrees and to aim for no more than 1.5 degrees warming. This is the beginning of the end of fossil fuels. It’s also a challenge our Government to increase New Zealand’s pledge to match these goals.”
196 governments, including New Zealand, agreed that current pledges are not enough to reach the new climate goals and that revised pledges should be the most ambitious possible.
“With one of the least ambitious pledges of any country, the Government now needs to increase our pledge,” said Kevin Hackwell. “We can hardly agree that pledges aren’t enough and then keep our own inadequate target.”
Independent assessments rate New Zealand’s target as inadequate.
“A significant aspect of the Paris Agreement is its recognition of the important role forests and conservation play in tackling climate disruption. The Government now needs to step up action to protect New Zealand’s native forests from pests and other threats.
“It has multiple benefits for providing resilience against climate disruption. Pest control not only protects our unique plants and animals, it also allows our native forests to store more carbon while reducing peak flood events and supplying more water during droughts. “
“This is a voluntary agreement. Action will only happen if the public keeps the Government’s feet to the fire,” Kevin Hackwell said. “By pushing for a voluntary agreement, the Government needs to respect public accountability in lieu of legal accountability.”
“The 35,000 New Zealanders on the streets in November was a great start.”