Political cartoonist puts paintbrush to billboard over climate

Press release - April 2, 2008
Renowned political cartoonist Malcolm Evans (1) will do a live billboard drawing in central Wellington today, as part of calls for stronger climate policies from New Zealand’s political leaders.

The painting will take place at Queens Wharf, where Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior is docked for the final leg of a six-week tour of New Zealand (see www.greenpeace.org.nz/rainbow-warrior for more information).

"The cartoon speaks for itself and in one simple frame it will communicate the big picture," said Mr Evans.

The billboard painting follows a political debate on the Rainbow Warrior last night, at which climate spokespeople from Labour, National, the Maori Party and the Greens defended their climate credentials ( full coverage of the debate).

It also follows the release of a major climate change political survey earlier this week, which revealed serious gaps and flaws in most parties' climate policies.

"Climate scientists say we have between 5-10 years to act to avoid dangerous climate change, yet most New Zealand politicians are acting like we have all the time in the world," said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer.

"As Maori Party MP Hone Harawira said last night, now is the time to be courageous.

"The most crucial and urgent thing for each party to do is set a domestic emissions reduction target of 30 by 2020 (2) and hold the agriculture sector to account for the fact it makes up almost half of all New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.

"This means bringing agriculture under the Government's emissions trading scheme within the next two years, rather than in 2013 as provided for in the legislation.

"Only these commitments will achieve the level of emission cuts necessary to help avoid unmanageable levels of climate change, and to ensure New Zealand can claim to be a world leader on climate change."

Currently the Green and Maori parties are the only two to support an earlier introduction for agriculture and an emission reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020.

WHAT: Live billboard painting by cartoonist Malcolm Evans

WHERE: Queens Wharf, Wellington

TIME: 1:30pm

Other contacts: Kathy Cumming (Communications Officer) – 021 495 216 Simon Boxer – (Climate Campaigner) – 021905579

VVPR info: High resolution images and video of the activity will be available free of charge later today at: http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/media (Multiple images can be added to the 'lightbox' and downloaded as a single zip file). Or contact Greg McNevin - 021577556

Notes: (1)A cartoonist for most of his working life, Malcolm Evans was the current NZ Cartoonist of the year when, in 2003, he was controversially dismissed from the NZ Herald for refusing to allow the Editor to dictate what subject matter he could address. Since then his work has appeared in the Auckland Suburban Newspapers and New Zealand Catholic, and his rural cartoon character Edna appears, as she has for over thirty years, in the country's largest farming paper Rural News. With 12 books of cartoons published Evans has twice been Qantas New Zealand Cartoonist of the year and several times a finalist, and his cartoons and caricatures continue to illustrate many books and articles. (2)The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified a range of 25-40 per cent reductions by 2020 for developed countries like New Zealand as necessary in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Greenpeace is calling for the New Zealand Government and all political parties to set an emissions reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020. Countries that are serious about taking a leadership position on climate change have set national targets. The UK has set a target of 20% by 2010 – this is above and beyond its Kyoto commitment. It is expected to achieve a reduction of almost 17% as a result. Germany has a domestic target of 40% reductions from 1990 levels by 2020, which it’s on track to meet. Even Australia, a former laggard when it comes to climate, now has a long term overall emission reduction target. Sweden recently agreed on an emission reduction range of 75-90% by 2050. The National Party has a target of 50 per cent reductions by 2050, but developed nations need to have reduced emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050.