New Zealand “must act fast” in wake of record-smashing new temperature data

Press release - July 20, 2016
In the wake of today’s revelation by one the world’s foremost climate institutes that the planet has just experienced the hottest six months on record, the Executive Director of Greenpeace New Zealand is calling on the NZ Government to act urgently.

Dr. Russel Norman says the latest data released by US Government scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), yet again shows the planet is in a state of crisis, climate change is happening right now, and New Zealand “simply can’t afford” to ignore the problem any longer.

“For NOAA, one of the world’s top authorities on the climate, to come out with data showing that temperatures in January to June this year were the hottest we’ve ever recorded, is terrifying,” he says.

“We’re hearing about temperature records being broken month after month and our Government is still sitting on its hands, whistling. If we do not start acting immediately, we’re all going to be in big trouble.

“Key and his senior ministers claim to believe in the science of climate change, yet their pro-fossil fuel policies and total absence of climate action are consistent with actual climate denial.”  

Norman says an urgent plan to cut our emissions should have been put in place as soon as John Key returned from the Paris Climate Conference in January.

“Instead Key came home saying he had no plans to cut back on the mining of oil, gas and coal here.  He says he has no opinion on our public power companies banding together to keep the Huntly coal fired power station burning, and he is silent while utilities like Unison are taxing solar to stop its uptake.

“His Government has failed us when it comes to the climate – the latest carbon pollution inventory released earlier this year shows that Key’s  policies are steadily increasing our emissions.”

At the Paris climate conference, the New Zealand Government was criticised for its inadequate offer to reduce its contribution to global climate change. It even picked up the very first ‘Fossil of the Day Award’, a booby prize given out by a global climate NGO coalition.

The just-released NOAA data shows that as well as the Earth recording its hottest first half of any year dating back to when records began in 1880, June also marked the 14th consecutive warmest month for the planet. 

According to the data, this is the longest-ever stretch of months in a row that a global temperature record has been set.