‘Who is going to lead us through the climate crisis?’: NGOs urge politicians to ramp up climate action policy
22 August, 2023
Interview by Rosetta Stone, adapted by Athena Li-Watts
In the lead-up to the election, Forest and Bird Strategic Advisor Geoff Keey says voters should consider how political parties are responding to the climate crisis and 'vote accordingly'. Image: Canva
With the October 2023 election approaching, climate activists are urging parties to ramp up their policies on combating the climate crisis — especially after Aotearoa received a year’s worth of rainfall within six months during extreme weather events like the North Island floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Strategic Advisor Geoff Keey told 95bFM’s The Wire, that recent extreme weather events should be a “wake-up call” for New Zealanders.
“It's time for us to remember what we all went through this year and vote accordingly."
A recent report from the Climate Change Commission revealed that Aotearoa is not on track to meet its Paris Agreement emission targets.
Keey is calling for political leadership for Aotearoa to get down to zero percent fossil fuels, and significantly reduce agriculture emissions.
"Who is going to lead us through the climate crisis and build the resilience our communities need by investing in nature?"
Although greenhouse gas emissions are on a downward trend, Keey said we have not seen a significant drop in emissions since around 2007.
“We need to see reductions at around 5% or 6% a year. We are nowhere near that yet.”
The Climate Shift, a campaign by a group of non-government organisations (NGOs), including Forest and Bird, outlining a ten-point plan for climate action, has garnered more than 13,000 signatures.
Keey said the plan has three key themes; supporting communities affected by the climate crisis, ending new oil, gas, and fossil fuel exploration and reforming agricultural practices, and restoring native forests, wetlands and protecting the ocean.
“In the long-term, this would help us avoid the worst climate change.”
According to Keey, many political parties in Aotearoa are yet to show any engagement with these ideas, which he partly attributes to election campaigns still being in their “early days”.
He emphasised that the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle demonstrated that the climate crisis has an effect on us all.
“When you go down to the supermarket, you can look at the price of veggies, and the cost of some vegetables and fruit has shot through the roof."
“We are hoping that when people go to vote, they’ll see how the political parties have responded and vote accordingly.”
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