The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Climate change – the ultimate intergenerational issue

Event date: 
28 Jul 2017

Caritas welcomes a new report, Stepping stones to Paris and beyond: Climate change, progress and predictability published by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

“We welcome this report. It is encouraging to see the growing recognition that climate change is the ultimate intergenerational issue,” said Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

 The recent wild and unpredictable weather in New Zealand and around the world is a reminder of the realities of climate change.  Caritas issues annual State of the Environment Reports which have for some years been tracking key environmental indicators. These all point towards the need for greater urgency in tackling the effects of climate change. 

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand joins with many others in urging parliamentarians, of all hues, to support legislation to set out a pathway towards the achievement of the Paris climate commitments New Zealand has already given.

According to Dr Wright’s report, “between 1990 and 2015, New Zealand net emissions have risen by 64 percent, while the UK’s net emissions have fallen by 38 percent.” Some of this reduction is undoubtedly due to factors beyond policies and legislation. However, it does indicate that New Zealand needs to give much greater urgency to developing a plan to reduce its carbon emissions, in line with its Paris Agreement commitments.  A business as usual mindset will not get us there.

In the UK the Climate Change Act (2008) enjoyed huge cross-party support being passed by a vote of 463 to 3.

“Caritas believes that New Zealand needs to develop legislation that enjoys similar cross-party support so that the actions we need to take are clear, timebound and with adequate notice for all. This will allow businesses and other organisations to plan ahead, and help ensure our Paris Climate targets can be met. We support the call by Dr Wright for the four key features of the UK Climate Change Act to be considered for New Zealand legislation," said Mrs Hickey.

“New Zealand has a proud history of being a world leader on so many issues. We cannot afford to be a laggard on this most urgent of issues which will have an impact on not only this generation, but all those that come after us."

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