The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Caritas welcomes NZ ratification of Paris Agreement

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Event date: 
05 Oct 2016

Caritas has welcomed New Zealand’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change, just a day after the Catholic social justice agency’s annual State of the Environment Report for Oceania called on all nations in the region to ratify the agreement.

The move by New Zealand brings to 14 the number of Oceania nations that have ratified the global climate agreement made last December, according to the Ratification Tracker run by Climate Analytics Group.

“We hope this signals a clear shift in the New Zealand Government’s commitment to address climate change,” says Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director Julianne Hickey.

“And that it will enable us to respond quickly to our Pacific neighbours who are facing the brunt of climate change now.

“Our report Hungry for justice, thirsty for change documented widespread hunger and thirst across the Pacific over the past year, due to multiple extreme weather events combined with ongoing climatic change. While in Kiribati last week, I saw rainwater tanks running dry due to a new La Nina weather cycle.”

Despite welcoming the move to ratify the historic agreement, Mrs Hickey pointed out that concrete action is needed to back up the decision

“We need a clear plan to transition to a low-carbon economy and national emissions targets that will actively contribute to worldwide efforts to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C.”

Mrs Hickey also called for an increase in support for our Pacific neighbours, and highlighted an important recommendation from the report to balance necessary infrastructure projects in affected countries with community-led projects directly helping the most vulnerable communities.

The report also acknowledged that the New Zealand Government supported a strong response to the El Nino drought that helped save lives, and is supporting good renewable energy projects in the Pacific.

“When one of the most naturally abundant places on Earth is afflicted by hunger and thirst on the scale we saw over the past year - nearly 5 million people affected - we must resolve to do all that we can to protect the poor and the planet,” says Mrs Hickey.

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