The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Catholics urged to get involved in climate response

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Event date: 
22 Oct 2021

Caritas says recent government announcements on climate recognise the urgency of making deep far-reaching changes across all sectors of New Zealand society, and the need to provide climate finance for the poor; but do not go far enough in aiming to cut New Zealand’s emissions sooner.

The New Zealand government recently put out a discussion document for its Emissions Reduction Plan to get to net zero carbon-equivalent emissions by 2050, and announced a four-fold increase in climate finance to poor nations over 2022-2025. In addition, Climate Minister James Shaw is expected to update its overall climate action pledge (Nationally Determined Contribution) for the United Nations conference on climate change in Glasgow (COP26) in early November,  

Caritas welcomed the increase in climate finance as long overdue, and rightly prioritises adaptation action and the Pacific. ‘However, the government must ensure this finance is used well to make a difference to the most vulnerable communities in the region and actively involves local communities and civil society in identifying needs, and in planning, implementing and monitoring for good, climate-related action,” says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.  

A preliminary view of the consultation documents for the Emissions Reduction Plan provides a positive vision for 2050, and recognises the need to tackle climate change in an integrated way, addressing issues such as poverty and biodiversity loss, rebuilding from the COVID crisis in a sustainable way, and working in partnership with Maori.  

However, to meet our responsibilities as a developed nation which has benefited from fossil fuels, we should be trying to become carbon neutral by 2040.  

“Covid has exposed vulnerabilities in existing economic arrangements. For example, long supply lines mean delays in housing construction and rising prices for low-income households. We should seek to rebuild a more sustainable, localised economy providing for food, energy and housing through local and community-based mechanisms, as well as strengthening local resilience in the face of increasingly severe weather events and sea level rise” says Julianne Hickey.  

“We need Catholics from all walks of life to get involved in this government consultation, and ongoing work to get New Zealand to a fair and just, carbon neutral future: farmers, transport workers, managers, office workers, homemakers, parents, students, health care workers and cleaners. In our modern interconnected way of life, all our activities impact to some extent on climate and the environment. Each of us has a part to play and can help find solutions and urge our politicians to work for a healthy climate, healthy lifestyles and communities, and ultimately restoring a healthy planet.”

For more information, please contact Roger Ellis, Engagement Manager, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand. Ph: 021 526 264.

ENDS

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Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust