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New Zealand has been urged to be bolder at COP24 in Poland, the annual United Nations climate change conference.

Greenpeace International Executive Director, Jennifer Morgan, says the New Zealand delegation has been “quiet” at the conference, which is at odds with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s bold action earlier in the year to ban new oil and gas exploration permits.

“Because there are so few countries on our side, we urgently need New Zealand to be a champion,” Morgan said from the conference in Katowice, Poland.

“New Zealand must be vocal on supporting the latest IPCC report – which shows we have just 12 years to halve carbon emissions – and support a process to significantly raise our global climate ambitions by the year 2020.”

Morgan has requested a meeting with New Zealand’s Minister for the Environment, David Parker, to raise her concerns.

Speaking at a press event at the conference overnight (NZT), she called on New Zealand to step up and be a climate change champion.

“New Zealand needs to separate itself out from positions of the umbrella group, which includes Australia, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, the US and Norway,” Morgan says.

“The New Zealand Prime Minister made international headlines with her strong position on climate change and ban on new oil and gas permits. We need New Zealand’s COP delegation to be just as vocal now, while they have the chance on the world stage. They also need to show their empathy with developing countries, including their friends in the Pacific, and commit to financial support to the Green Climate Fund.”

Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, says developed countries like New Zealand must take the lead when it comes to climate action.

“The targets of every country at COP24 need to be more ambitious if we are going to stay within safe global warming. Right now, we’re on track for a three or four degree temperature rise, which would cause mass extinctions and the displacement and death of tens of millions of people,” he says.

“New Zealand was celebrated internationally for taking action and becoming one of the first countries in the world to ban new oil and gas exploration permits, protecting four million square kilometres of ocean from the extraction of fossil fuels.

“Small countries can make big waves. Right now, we have an opportunity to stand in front of the world and champion bold climate leadership. I hope it’s an opportunity our representatives take.”

As the UN climate talks in Poland entered their second week, Greenpeace activists projected a message to world leaders at COP24 demanding urgent action to turn the tide on the worsening climate emergency.

They projected the words: ‘Politicians Talk, Leaders Act’ and ‘No Hope Without Climate Action’ onto the roof of the COP24 venue, the Spodek, in Katowice.

ENDS

For more info contact:

Sophie Schroder in NZ, +64 21 086 47450
Aaron Gray-Block in Poland +61 (0)437 845 150