A message written in debris from Hurricane Sandy reads "Global Warming is Here" on the beach in a devastated area of New York. The late season hurricane drew unusual power from a warmer than usual ocean and devastated coastal New York and New Jersey. 11/04/2012 © Greenpeace

The World Bank has released a report warning that we are on the path to a 4 degree warmer world by the end of the century - triggering devastating consequences, such as flooding of coastal cities and declining global food stocks. It is a wake-up call to our leaders to tackle climate pollution.

The report, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided , paints a bleak picture of a world in chaos: extreme weather events like the one that ravaged New York; serious problems in food production; more droughts, heat waves, water scarcity, irreversible loss of natural habitat and wildlife.

The world that my daughter will live in will be a very different place from the one that she knows now.

It's a depressing scenario for any parent to face, but also one that makes me more determined to help find a solution; because there is one.

I say this as the report also makes it clear that we have a choice: either we continue drifting from one chaos to another, to a very uncertain and unknown future by doing nothing or we can take action and build a cleaner, safer future for us all.

It's authors cite the huge opportunities that must be grasped by investing in cleaner, smarter ways to power our homes and economies and pull us back from the brink. And as a result we can help kick-start our failing economies.

It just requires leadership and vision from all governments, including our own, to deal with the problem that affects us all, as we are all part of the solution.

But you wouldn't think so to listen to our Government at the moment. John Key recently said of New Zealand that "we never want to be a world leader in climate change. We've always wanted to be what is affectionately called a 'fast follower'". How damning and short-sighted is that? And just to make the point, he's instructed his Minister's to gut the Emissions Trading Scheme - our only tool for reducing pollution from our biggest industries - and pulled New Zealand out of the world's only binding treaty for tackling climate change.

This will inevitably lead to increased pollution and damage our ability to grow a healthier, more prosperous economy.

This weekend the business commentator Rod Oram  wrote that "everything about this new stand by our Government is wrong and dangerous". And he's not the only one. At the same time Oram was penning his article, the  New York Times  was drawing the same conclusion. The article slammed New Zealand's clean, green reputation as being as "fantastical as dragons and wizards" and cited our decision to pull out Kyoto and align with several of the world's largest emitters, including the United States, Russia and Canada. Such a move puts New Zealand in the same club of notorious climate wreckers and can only damage our global reputation.

In his article, Oram also questioned whether this stand was the folly of an incompetent Government, or the agenda of an unprincipled one? Or is it both? In the light of the compelling evidence that is presented in the World Bank report, I would also add immoral. Why? Because, whilst John Key has set about dismantling our environmental safeguards, he is also locking us into an economic model which will lead to more environmental harm and accelerate climate change.

Key's future for New Zealand is one that will see more pollution of our rivers and our air and will see us miss out on the opportunity to build an economy on our two greatest assets - our environment and our ability as Kiwi's to overcome our greatest challenges.  

As the Pure Advantage report  highlighted last week, there is huge economic benefit from moving to cleaner and smarter ways of doing business.

We could proudly play an international role in helping the world move away from dirty fossil fuels and embracing clean energy.

We could reap the rewards of being good stewards of our environment and supporting the clean technology innovators who will help avert a global catastrophe.

And most importantly, we will build a safer, more secure future for our children. As a parent, I don't think I can do anything less.