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Collins a bad choice for climate

Opinion Piece

With the election around the corner, the Green Party has unveiled “Our Green Vision For Aotearoa” and co-leader Marama Davidson said that over coming weeks they will launch “key, visionary, costed policies that are focused on climate action”.

Our country is at a crossroads. The decisions we make now will determine what kind of planet we pass on to our grandchildren.

It is such a shame that Opposition politicians and supporters don't think the same on climate action (more on this later).

Last October OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría said powerful interests continued to resist the transition towards a low-carbon economy, even as the old model is dying.

It's no secret New Zealand is the fifth highest per-capita greenhouse gas emitter in the OECD, assisted tremendously by half our emissions being agricultural.

Per person, we emit more than double that of the UK and many other countries. Kiwis impact far above the global average, and we should be deeply ashamed of ourselves.

Investment consultant Dr Paul Winton recently said here that we must get petrol and diesel out of our lives, and reduce the GHG output of our ruminant animals.

He reinforced this in his “If it's not the cars it's the cows” Weekender column. His opening words were “Climate change: for many an issue too big, too complex, too controversial/divisive, too abstract, too depressing, too inconvenient . . . too hard”.

The deluge of angry responses confirmed his message was indeed too hard for many.

I have stated here numerous times that climate change is the greatest challenge the human race has ever faced. I am pleased to see more acceptance of this fact.

Our Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Climate Change Minister James Shaw certainly do. Their Zero Carbon Bill was passed with bipartisan support last November.

However, the National Party has in the past shown extreme reluctance to touch our No.1 contributor, agriculture emissions. And now it has Judith Collins as its new leader, who has openly antagonised climate change action.

She has downplayed our agriculture emissions, rubbished the importance of the Paris agreement target of a 1.5 degree rise in average global temperatures, blamed a “fanatical green lobby” for pushing the kids into marching for climate, and suggested Greta Thunberg will soon be forgotten. Worst of all promised to “amend this (Zero Carbon) Bill once we're in Government”.

Last December James Shaw said a climate change “lens” would now be applied to all major decisions made by the Government.

We will get nothing like that from National's Collins, who openly accused the “political left of hugely” overstating the impacts of climate change.

Please believe David Attenborough: “We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that . . . . The future of humanity, and indeed all life on earth, now depends on us.”

Normally I resist single-issue voting but on climate change, this is important.

I would even vote for National if it was stronger on climate change action than Labour or the Greens. But that is not the case.

It is impossible to overstate our need for the Green Party to be part of Government.

Like Sir David said: We have the power . . . The future depends on us.

So please vote wisely.

Bob Hughes

  1. RV Stolfer, Pennsylvania says:

    Wendell Berry wrote an amazing essay right after 9-11, called “In the presence of fear”, calling for changes to deal with our emergencies . . . none of it was heeded, and now 19 years later we are STILL speeding towards extinction!!!
    Would be nice if we . . . WOKE UP!!!!!
    Peace