Heads in the Sand: What climate change?

NZ2_2521LR

Today, across NZ from Ahipara in the far north to Invercargill, hundreds of concerned kiwis gathered to put their heads in the sand on beaches —in satirical acknowledgement of the Government’s “Heads in the Sand” policies on climate change.

On Oakura beach, Taranaki, 19 people gathered despite the gloomy weather, to make their statement to John Key and Climate Change Minister Tim Groser: “Get your heads out of the sand and take some real action on climate change.”

Minister Groser is putting NZ to shame. Rather than curbing greenhouse gas emissions, our emissions are geared to rise by 55% from 2021-2030. The central government is ignoring climate science and local governments’ calls for assistance to prepare for sea level rise while island nations like Kiribati prepares for national evacuation.

There’s just one week left of the UN Climate Change negotiations in Lima, Peru where governments are preparing for a new climate agreement to be struck in Paris. So far, the US, China, UK, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and others have all agreed to binding targets.

Yet the NZ government is pushing for a non-binding agreement, along with Australia and Canada.

Surely a progressive nation like NZ can do better. We can lead the world by setting an ambitious emission reduction target, engaging the public in this critical issue and chipping in our fair share of climate finance needed for adaptation and transition.

Not only will these save our clean green reputation, it might just help save us all from the catastrophic consequences of unprecedented temperature rise, extreme weather events and irreversible change in ocean chemistry.

Media coverage:

Climate activists buried their heads in the sand (TDN, 8 Dec)

Critics claim government ‘burying its head in the sand’ over climate change (TV One News, 7 Dec)

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