People’s Climate March

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Yesterday we left the meeting rooms of the climate negotiations behind and took it to the streets, marching alongside 15,000 others to demand climate justice. As the traffic backed up in the already hectic streets of Lima, people from around the world came together in a colourful parade of costumes, national dress, banners and giant corn.

The march reflected the widespread rejection of the business oriented marketsolutions being discussed

IMG_9513within the United Nations process, with many banners calling to ‘change the system, not the climate.’ There is a growing dissatisfaction with the current approach to tackling the climate crisis, and significant opposition to the UN’s REDD+ program, as evidenced by an array of banners and stickers throughout the crowd.

Indigenous groups from the Amazon region marched to save the rainforest, ‘Salva el selva’. Despite the importance of protecting the Amazon for its ability to store carbon from our atmosphere, many of the people who call it home feel shut out from the COP process. These same communities are frequently on the frontlines of resource extraction, and fight a constant battle to see their rights respected.

IMG_9539The New Zealand cohort carried a clear message to Tim Groser and the New Zealand government: Cut The Gap. We are deeply disappointed in the growing gap between New Zealand’s growing carbon pollution and our government’s commitments to reduce it, and want to see real action to back up the rhetoric being used here in Lima around doing our “fair share.”

The fact that 15,000 people had gathered from far and wide gave us hope in the future of our people. We are more climate-conscious now than ever before and all age groups are beginning to get involved.  As negotiators enter the final two days in COP20, the message from the people has been stated loud and clear: we want to see strong action to tackle climate change. Action must be fair and the time is now.

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A justified anger: intergenerational equity and climate change

Young people have a very special place amongst the people of the world when it comes to climate change. Clearly, the bulk of historical carbon emissions have been caused by generations past, and in particular our parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

In addition, people who are not yet born can have no say in decisions that affect them. Where are the voices of those born in 2040 in today’s negotiations? Intergenerational equity is the idea that there should be equity between generations, so that past generations can be equal to present and future generations. Present generations should leave a world comparable to the one we grew up in, to afford future generations the same rights and privileges their parents had.

But our parents’ generation has failed us when it comes to acting on climate change. We have been aware of the situation since at least the 70′s, and the UNFCCC has been working now for 20 years. They have been negotiating for, literally, our whole lives. But we have consistently failed to see adequate climate action.

So the youth of today are affected in a unique way by climate change. A quote from American activist Tim DeChristopher sums this up nicely:

“It means that we’re never going to have the opportunities that our parents’ and our grandparents’ generations had, and that we’ve got this massive burden weighing on our future. We constantly hear baby boomers saying to young people: “Stopping climate change is going to be the challenge of your generation.” Well, that’s not really true. We’ve known about climate change for 20 years, during the time when baby boomers were holding power in this country. Stopping climate change was the challenge of the baby boomer generation, and they failed because it would’ve meant making sacrifices and putting their children’s and grandchildren’s generations ahead of their own. They chose not to do that.”

As such, I think that climate change is one factor contributing to the kind of youth disengagement and disempowerment in political processes we see in the extremely low level of voter turnout amongst youth.

How should youth feel about this? Firstly, for us, climate change is deeply personal. From Tim:

“For a young person looking at climate change, it is personal. It is an older generation trading our lives for their own short-term interests, whether that’s fossil fuel executives trading our lives for profit or whether that’s baby boomer liberals trading our lives for their own comfort and convenience because they don’t want to take the risk of fighting back.”

How should we respond? There’s a quote from Tim which I find really interesting, about anger:

“I’ve never seen a place in this movement or in the discourse around climate change where it’s considered appropriate for young people to express their anger at old people. But it’s just under the surface. I don’t think we can have a healthy dialogue around climate change until young people are able to express that anger in an honest way, just like I don’t think we ever could have had really honest and productive dialogues around race without the expression of black rage. Certainly we need more than just rage, and on its own, it’s not productive. But if it’s not ever addressed, I think it’s hard to move forward in a trusting way.”

We have a right to be angry. But it’s not all about anger. Tim speaks about how once he got beyond the sheer terror he felt when he thought about the reality of climate change, he found it liberating:

“Once I realised that there was no hope in any sort of normal future, there’s no hope for me to have anything my parents or grandparents would have considered a normal future – of a career and a retirement and all that stuff – I realised that I have nothing to lose by fighting back. Because it was all going to be lost anyway.”

Further, he says, “[i]t’s somewhat comforting knowing that things are going to fall apart, because it does give us that opportunity to change things.”

I find this fascinating. This takes all that is bad about climate change and flips it on its head. It marks a paradigm shift in the way that young people think. Because we are not going to have the same kind of lives as our parents – as much as some of us may want that life. And if we choose to accept it, this can liberate us. We don’t have to follow predetermined pathways. We can live the kind of lives that we want to lead.

Celebrating REDD+ Day

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Manuel Pulgar Vidal at REDD+ press conference on Monday

On Monday Manuel Pulgar Vidal, Peruvian environment minister and President of the COP20 opened a special press release celebrating REDD+. “It is a REDD+ day. It is a day to celebrate because we are getting closer to REDD+ implementation in developing countries.” The room was packed and buzzing, with many in attendance wearing ‘REDD+ Day’ badges and beaming smiles, as leaders from Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico presented pledges to submit forest carbon reference levels to the UN REDD+ program. Richard Kinley, UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary announced, “today signals that REDD+ under the UN convention actually works, and that we’re moving from words on paper to action on the ground.”

Earlier in the day I had joined several activists in staging an action within the COP against REDD+. So what is REDD+ and why the disagreement?

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries, or REDD+, is a program of action aimed at incentivising the reduction of deforestation, through providing financial incentives to protect forests. Deforestation accounts for 20% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions, which is greater than the total transport sector and second only to energy, so protecting forests is an important component to addressing the climate crisis.

Unfortunately early REDD+ projects are perpetuating the same patterns of injustice and neocolonial appropriation that we have come to associate with fossil fuel extraction agendas. REDD+ is quickly accumulating a swag of human rights abuses, such as forced evictions, loss of land, and a lack of respect for indigenous rights. It has become apparent that carbon traders and governments are the ones who will profit from REDD+ projects, not the communities who are most directly impacted.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, concedes that the reality of many REDD+ projects is that Free, Prior and Informed consent of indigenous people is not being respected. She said at an official side event on Monday night, “We need to protect those who have been protecting the forest since time immemorial, and are willing to lay down their lives to protect it.”

Can adequate safeguards solve the problem? Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environment Network, doesn’t believe so. There is currently no mechanism for redress, or even to raise complaints, so it is unclear what will happen if conditions are violated. It will likely be up to the individual country to reconcile this – countries which are already legally bound to human rights standards, yet are failing to address the recent number of murders of environmentalists. Furthermore, Goldtooth sees the cost of safeguard implementation as prohibitive to countries truly committing to their implementation, as the attraction of REDD+ for governments is as a revenue stream. It is no surprise then that REDD+ negotiations collapsed last week because of a lack of agreement on safeguard information systems.

Even more fundamentally, REDD+ fails to address the root causes of deforestation, and treats forests only as carbon stocks, ignoring their role as functioning ecosystems which provide a range of benefits and services. The language of ‘enhancement of forest carbon stocks’ allows for industrial logging and conversion of native forest to plantation forests, reducing biodiversity and adversely impacting forest dependent communities. REDD+ attempts to solve the climate crisis with the same logic that created it, creating forest offsets which merely provide a panacea for developed nations’ guilt, while allowing them to continue with business as usual.

So if not REDD+, than what? NZYD would rather see a global emphasis on Land Tenure Reform, as collectively demarcating and titling indigenous people’s territories and land has proven to be one of the most effective ways of reducing deforestation. In her presentation on Monday, Tauli-Corpuz pointed out that from 2000-2012 deforestation within indigenous territories was less than 1%, as compared with 7% outside of these territories. There is a growing body of evidence for this; for example community managed forests in Brazil have been shown to have eleven times lower deforestation rates than surrounding regions. Recognition of traditional land ownership is the main demand coming from indigenous activists here at COP20, in order to protect their forests and collective rights. Across the Amazon rainforest, formal land title is lacking across nearly 100 million hectares of native land, according to the Coordinator of Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), a vocal advocacy group here at COP.

Personally I saw nothing to celebrate on Monday, and felt more than a little uncomfortable with the self-congratulatory nature of the REDD+ themed events I attended. If the early stages of REDD+ are anything to go by, this program is going to create more problems than it solves. The world needs to pay attention to the demands of indigenous people, respect indigenous land rights, and value forests as more than mere carbon stocks.

Indigenous Peoples + Territorial Rights = Living Forests

Indigenous Peoples + Territorial Rights = Living Forests. Viva Amazonia action last weekend in Lima

Climate Change, Intersectionality and the Politics of Poverty

I’ve long known that climate change is not a single-issue issue. It interconnects with and threads between many different spheres, such as the environment, the economy, science, development, gender issues, sociology, politics, policy, engineering, human rights, indigenous rights, intellectual property, and public health. But being here in Lima has brought home to me, yet again, in a very concrete way, that climate change is about, perhaps more than anything else, class, equity and poverty.

More about class later. Right now I want to introduce right now the related concept of kyriarchy. First introduced by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, in essence this is the idea that there are separate but interlocking and interacting systems of oppression, including those based on gender, race, ableism, sexuality, class, education, and, yes, how one is affected by climate change. A person may be privileged in some systems and oppressed in others. Just as the struggles of a white upper middle class gay woman are different to those of a minority ethnicity man living in poverty, the challenges faced by a black man living in North America are not comparable with those of a black woman living in sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippines, or other areas which face severe climate impacts now and into the future. Although the concept of kyriarchy is well known, oppression based on climate change never seems to be expressly included in it, and I think it should be.

Last year I wrote about how underlying power dynamics and class issues play out in a very real and perceivable procedural way in the negotiations. That is no less true this year. This time I want to write about how those dynamics interplay with the actual issues at stake in the talks, and about how our social movements should and must react. A foundation of the UNFCCC agreement is the concept of “common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities”, which is the idea that countries should contribute, in terms of emissions cuts and finance, in a way that is proportionate to both their responsibility for the problem, and their capacity to help fix it. Implicit in it is the idea of historic responsibility, which is how much carbon each country has emitted throughout history. Sounds simple, right? But the debate over what, precisely, these seven words mean has spanned twenty years and counting.

At the core of the equity issue is that those countries that have contributed least to the problem are most often the ones that will be most affected by it yet have the least capacity to adapt. The way climate change will affect those living in the slums of Mumbai or on farms in Nicaragua vastly differs from how it will impact those living in suburban New Zealand or Norway, yet it is the latter countries who have contributed more to the problem and have benefited from burning fossil fuels . A key component of the Kyoto Protocol was the division of countries into Annex I and non-Annex I countries – meaning that only developed countries had to take binding emissions cuts. There will be no such stark dichotomy in the new agreement, which countries have already agreed must be “applicable to all”. But it’s not clear yet how contributions will be determined: the corporate-driven governments of the global North want to be free to contribute however much or little they want, whereas developing countries are keen for some sort of review system that links contributions to historic responsibility and capacity. It is an unfortunate fact that developed countries have become rich from their emissions, whereas developing countries cannot afford to make as great a contribution. People living in poverty cannot afford to do anything, let alone cut their meagre emissions. Similarly, you cannot fix climate change by telling already poor pensioners to turn off their heaters for an extra hour each day, or telling working-class Britons to cycle an hour or more to work. Class cannot be separated from climate.

The issues of finance, adaptation, technology transfer and loss and damage are also critical here. Developed countries want the new agreement to include only mitigation, and not these other subjects. However, developing countries argue than in order to mitigate, finance is required, and because climate change impacts are already being felt by developing countries who do not have the capacity to adapt by themselves, developed countries need to help with adaptation and loss and damage. Technology transfer, in addition, is necessary to help developing countries develop in a low carbon way without being trapped in poverty; it would be immensely unfair if ceasing emissions meant that developing countries were locked into their situations forever. As such, it’s clear that it would be a great injustice if adaptation, loss and damage, technology transfer and finance were not included in the new agreement. The intersectionality of climate issues cannot be ignored. Class cannot be separated from climate.

Some “solutions” to climate change are similarly fraught with oppression. Mega-dams in Uganda have displaced hundreds of thousands. Biofuels replace the forests of indigenous peoples. Carbon markets have been proven to immensely benefit traders while having little to no impact on climate change.(reference needed’- eu bank report) REDD+, or reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is a controversial mechanism which is based on the premise that those in the global South should be rewarded for keeping their forests rather than cutting them down. However, REDD+ more often than not acts to displace communities and violate rights. All of these so-called “solutions” disproportionately affect those in the global South.

Now, to turn to the movement. Audre Lorde said that there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not lead single-issue lives. In a similar vein, Chimamanda Adichie reminds us of the danger of telling a single story. This is never more true than in the climate movement. Fracking debates are as much about health as they are about environment. Coal mining struggles can be about health, environment, labour, or indigenous rights. The plight of indigenous peoples living in the Amazon is complex and multifaceted. The climate movements, working alone, cannot adequately address these problems.

Our collective movements – environmental movements, food movements, labour movements, indigenous movements, class movements, gender movements – must link together if we are to have a good chance in this fight, if we are to tackle kyriarchy. Someone in a talk I attended at the Cumbre de Los Pueblos today said (and I agree) that the left is a lot more fractured than the right. The right is a lot more united, in part because they are better at compromise – they are satisfied if only half of their requirements are met in any coalition agreement, whereas left-leaning groups are often more particular about the details and find it harder to compromise. We need to negotiate our differences, now more than ever in the lead up to Paris, and respect the people who work on different levels so we don’t end up undermining each other. This is particularly so in the climate movement, because it is not a single-issue issue.

Personally, Lima has confirmed my affiliation with the ‘climate justice’ movements. I do not think that climate can be looked at in isolation from other issues and systemic problems. “Cambiemos el sistema, no el clima,” as they say here in Peru. I’m sure my thinking will continue to evolve as I attend the Cumbre for the remainder of this week. Adios for now!

From The Outside In

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This week I had a slightly different experience of COP20 to that of my NZYD teammates, as I spent the week on the outside looking in. Entry to the official proceedings requires an accreditation pass, of which we were only able to secure four this year, so two of us have split one pass, giving us one week each. This gave me a a chance to simultaneously follow what was happening inside through my friends, while walking in the shoes of the many activists here in Lima who for one reason or another have not been granted access.

Voces por el Clima

My first stop was Voices for the Climate, an official COP20 event aimed at communicating climate change information to the public in an interactive and accessible way. Here I found a plethora of talks throughout the week broken into the broad categories of forests, mountains and water, oceans, energy and sustainable cities. I set up camp for a day at the forest pavilion where I heard a range of perspectives on forest carbon stock management, biodiversity, rights of indigenous and forest communities and the controversial United Nations REDD+ scheme. I heard stories from throughout the Amazon region, about the fauna, the people and the challenges they are facing. While I didn’t agree with everything I heard, it was fascinating to hear about work being done in the region and to learn more about the realities behind the statistics.

The other area which hooked me at Voces was the Indigenous Pavillion; the product of collaboration between the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, AIDESEP (Interethnic association for the development of the Amazon basin), and COICA (Coordinator of the Indigenous Organisations of theAmazon Basin), with support from the Norwegian government. Exhibition spaces weave a narrative around how climate impacts affect indigenous groups throughout Latin America and beyond, and challenge the dominant paradigm of extractive based ‘development’.

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In another part of Lima activists gather to ‘Change the system, not the climate’ in a convergent space hosted by local organisation TierrActiva. The convergent space is provided for all people to come together for workshops, discussions, art, and action planning. When I discovered this little gem, I was welcomed by a beautiful wall to wall mural and a giant noticeboard covered in post-it notes about all the activities on offer. With my new friends I shared a delicious locally-sourced vegetarian meal prepared by volunteers, I made paper-meche corn cobs amid screen printing and weaving of giant dream catchers, and I met young people who plan to cycle 5,000km to COP21 in Paris next year. The coming together of diverse groups of people to work together towards a common goal creates a wonderful energy and is a working model for how to create the kind of change we want to see in the world.

Looking ahead

As I contemplate my week ahead within the COP, there is a small part of me which is questioning the need to enter at all. During my week on the outside I have encountered people and organisations which have spoken to certain ideas that have been percolating within me for some time. For me, the United Nations does not offer much hope. I have seen signs of the corporate capture of the COP process, and I am dissatisfied with the false and inadequate solutions being offered up, such as carbon trading and REDD+. I see that current market-based attempts to halt deforestation are simply re-entrenching existing inequalities and neo-colonial appropriation of resources in developing countries. I am increasingly convinced that we cannot achieve sufficient action on climate without addressing the root cause: the reality that our global system is inherently unsustainable, as it requires unrelenting economic growth fuelled by consumption of resources. Until we redefine our relationship with the earth and our way of relating to it, we are simply throwing band aids at a gaping wound.

So then why will I be entering COP20 tomorrow with my shiny new observer badge? Well, because I believe that it is still crucial to be there to contest that space. The absence of critical voices would grant free reign to governments to avoid implementing change, and mean that corporate influence, both on individual governments and the UNFCCC process itself would continue unchallenged. I believe, as do many others, that it is important to highlight the inadequacy of the UN process, shine a light on examples of corporate influence and communicate the need for deeper action to address this crisis. What’s more, there are a good number of voices which have not been granted access and whose concerns and experiences warrant a mouth piece on the inside, if only to be that nagging moral conscience as our negotiators stall the process.

Perhaps my experience as an ‘outsider’ at COP has radicalised me somewhat. But I also believe it has allowed me to synthesise my ideas about climate change and the UN process in a coherent manner, alongside others who feel many of the same things. Now I have the connections at my disposal to begin to engage with the question of what action is needed, and the confidence to engage with delegates and speak my truth, knowing the volume of stories which underlie my views.

 

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Understanding The Negotiations

A great deal of my energy over the past week has gone into understanding what is happening at the negotiations. Here’s a summary of what I’ve learnt so far.

The negotiations are the largest of a series of global meetings every year that tries to bring together Governments, NGOs, youth, media, activists and more for two weeks to come to a common understanding of what to do about climate change. The emphasis here is on “try”.

Putting the negotiations in context, they are as advanced the world has ever got at addressing an issue as big and complex as climate change. Climate science is more than ever showing that to avoid the impacts of dangerous climate change, we need more action sooner, otherwise costs are going to get mental, like, US$500 billion/year for developing countries alone. No pressure then!

What do the negotiations even look like, and why is it confusing?

At the negotiations, there so many events going on all the time, and there is such a spectrum of views from different perspectives, that it quickly becomes an overwhelming flood of information that gets difficult to see through. Here’s a simplified view of the main elements of the negotiations:

  • Formal government discussions (plenaries): very political, each country tries to maximise their own interests
  • Individual government pavilions: showcasing countries and holding meetings
  • Side events: meetings to discuss the ins and outs of a good agreement – often very different to what is discussed in the plenaries
  • Actions: stunts done in public to make a point, must be approved by the UN in advance (eg Fossil of the day, an ironic award ceremony for countries that do their ‘best’ to block progress)
  • Press and media: commentary of the progress of the negotiations (they also love the actions)
  • Interventions: special speaking opportunities at plenaries (eg Youth)
  • Meetings for youth groups to give updates and organise together

Embarrassingly, it took me about two days even to figure out the complicated scheduling system, and even then it just gave me more difficult choices – eg I found it tough to choose between a talk on low-carbon transport options, a meeting between the secretariat and youth, or an action highlighting governments actions that pass or fail the climate test. Ouch! I chose to meet with the secretariat, which turned out to be a fascinating conversation.

However what is most striking to me is the enormous gulf between what the governments are negotiating in the plenaries, and what the NGOs and the IPCC are saying is needed to successfully and fairly address climate change. The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to “…prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system…”, and while so many good things have happened to this end, right now it feels a long way from being the reality. This is just the beginning, and I’m glad to be here.

Calling For The Security Of Our Future

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Chris, Natalie and I joined YOUNGO youth and intergenerational equity advocates who came together yesterday to display two demands: a 0% social discount rate that would ensure equal valuation of future generations, and 0% fossil fuel emissions by 2050.

The group stood in silence for most of the action, we held signs that read “Born in 2100, Don’t Discount My Future”. We wore tape over our mouths to represent the way future generations are unable to defend their right to a liveable future, and are not guaranteed one because their lives are currently not worth as much as current generations’ thanks to social discounting.

The most exciting thing for me was several taking part in the action by removing the tape from my mouth and stepping forward to speak. We pointed directly at members of the large crowd and said, “You are my grandparent, don’t discount my future” as a way to bring delegates’ attention to their families and loved ones in hopes of driving them to action on climate.

“Youth have a strong moral voice to call for justice for our generation. The decisions made now will profoundly affect the security of our future, so we are advocating for bold action to meet that challenge,” said Aly Johnson-Kurts, an organizer of the event and U.S. youth delegate with the organization SustainUS.

It was a proud feeling to stand in solidarity with people who share the same worries and concerns as myself and show negotiators that we won’t relieve pressure on them. They need to start counting our future as equal to their lives now, not when it’s already too late.

I am not proud of my country.

I am not proud of my country.

There are many things I love about New Zealand: our mountains, our beaches, our accents, our culture, our wildlife – but our climate policy is not one of them.

It’s Day 5 here at COP and not much has happened in the negotiations. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. But I find myself becoming, inexplicably, angry. To be precise, I’m becoming angry at New Zealand. It’s not even about anything in particular that we’ve done. Rather, it’s about what we’ve not done – and about our long-held positions here at the UNFCCC.

Three things in particular stand out to me: targets, bounded flexibility, and climate finance.

Targets

New Zealand’s first target under the Kyoto Protocol was to reduce our emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. Amazingly, we met this target – but only because we counted the carbon temporarily absorbed by a boom in commercial pine plantations, which are due for harvest from around 2020. Our total greenhouse gas emissions are now 22% higher than in 1990.

We are now aiming to reduce our net emissions in 2020 to 5% below 1990 levels. However, we will miserably fail to meet this goal. By 2020, net emissions are predicted to jump to 27-30% above the 1990 gross emissions level.

Even if this target were to be met, it would still fall far short of what is required to limit warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Our current policies will reduce total emissions by just 0.4% by 2030 compared with taking no action at all – and at this rate we will blow through our per capita share of the remaining global carbon budget before 2030.

Here at COP we often hear the rhetoric of countries doing their “fair share”. It’s hard to quantify what our fair share is, exactly. But when even big and notoriously laggardly emitters such as the US have submitted better targets than us, it’s hard to justify our position. It’s clear that we are not actually holding up our end of the deal.

Bounded Flexibility

These negotiations have seen a proposal put forward by New Zealand in the spotlight. New Zealand proposes that countries each table a nationally determined intended contribution (ie how much they are prepared to reduce their emissions by), which will not be legally binding. The idea is that ambition of mitigation commitments will be increased over time from the beginning of the agreement until its purpose is achieved, subject to force majeure. Countries will be free to opt in and out whenever they like. The main argument for non-legally binding targets is that without the fear of being held to international law, governments are more likely to shoot for an ambitious emissions target. In addition, it is more likely that countries such as the US will be able to ratify the agreement if the targets are non binding.

In short, this proposal is awful. Non-binding targets mean that there is absolutely no accountability in the process – it’s the legal equivalent of the Wild West. There is no incentive for countries to live up to their stated commitments. There is no guarantee of getting to 2 degrees – it’s just talk, rhetoric. What would happen if our domestic laws weren’t legally binding?

Climate Finance

So far, New Zealand has committed $3 million to the Green Climate Fund. This is a pittance compared to New Zealand’s aid budget of $550 million, or our defence budget of $100 million.

To justify its position, New Zealand says that it wants to focus on mitigation, rather than adaptation. It’s true that mitigation is important, as the more we mitigate, the less need there will be to adapt. However, this view is simply not just. It is pure luck that we in New Zealand will not feel the effects of climate change as much as in other countries. Adaptation is vitally important from a climate justice perspective.

A common reason given for our inaction is that at less than 0.2% of the global total, New Zealand’s emissions are so small that it will make little or no measurable difference to the climate whether we reduce them or not. Although this is undeniably true, inaction is simply not a smart strategy. By not acting, we are missing out on important economic opportunities from positioning ourselves early. In addition, failure to act simply goes against basic moral intuitions. Everyone is affected, and everyone’s actions matter.

There are many more things I could criticise, such as the fact that the New Zealand Government has allowed the carbon price to crash to near zero, and the National Government’s total gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme. But this blog post is long enough and my stream of anger is running out.

In conclusion, I urge our government to up its ambition and ditch its proposal for bounded flexibility. New Zealanders deserve better. Then I might have something to be proud of.