New Zealand’s promise “dead in the water” as Paris Climate Agreement comes into force

Press release - November 4, 2016
Greenpeace New Zealand is calling for a summer of action to highlight what it’s calling the Government’s “sham plan” to meet the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which came into force today.

Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Kate Simcock, says despite being one of the first countries in the world to ratify the agreement, the New Zealand Government doesn’t yet have a plan for how it will curb climate emissions domestically.

It has committed to reducing emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

“But information that Greenpeace received under the Official Information Act shows New Zealand is forecast to meet 80% of this target by offsetting our emissions in the international carbon market,” Simcock says.

“This means that currently our Government’s only action plan to meet our international obligations in the face of the climate emergency we’re facing is to buy our way out of it.

“If every country behaved the way we did, we'd literally be dead in the water.  It's not acceptable that we push the burden onto someone else so that we can keep polluting, it's utterly amoral as a global citizen.”

The documents obtained under the OIA also show that officials are well aware of the lack of a domestic plan.

“It will become increasingly more difficult to address the gap between domestic emissions and international targets under our current settings: We need a plan for how we deal with climate change beyond 2030,” one section states.

Simcock says the Government is in denial about climate change.

“On his return from Paris a year ago, Prime Minister John Key stated he had no intention of scaling back oil exploration here. Instead the Government launched straight into the block offer process, where vast tracts of our ocean are allocated to oil companies to survey and drill,” she says.

“If our so-called leaders won’t change a thing, then it’s up to New Zealanders. Two weeks ago we announced a ‘summer of action’, and it’s going to be big.

We’re inviting everyone around the country to join us.

“The industry should expect community resistance at every turn, and the Government should prepare for a battering of its climate-denying oil agenda. This will all culminate at the next oil conference in Taranaki in March.”

Actress Lucy Lawless, who made international headlines in 2012 when she and six Greenpeace activists scaled the derrick of Shell oil drillship, the Noble

Discoverer, and camped there for more than 70 hours, will also be joining the summer of action.