We have known about our impacts on climate for decades, although it is only in recent years that governments and industries begin to acknowledge that we need to act upon it. New Zealand passed the Zero Carbon Bill in November 2019 and declared a climate change emergency in December 2020 while committing to a carbon neutral government by 2025. In June 2021, He Pou a Rangi, the Climate Change Commission, delivered its advice to the government Ināia Tonu Nei, detailing some of the paths Aotearoa could take to meet its climate targets. The Commission affirmed that “transformational and lasting change is both necessary and possible.” In August 2021, the UN Secretary-General described the most recent IPCC report as ‘Code Red for Humanity’. He warned, “we are at imminent risk of hitting 1.5 degrees in the near term. The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold, is by urgently stepping up our efforts, and pursuing the most ambitious path.”
Despite all these warnings, government policies and actions are lagging behind. The UN COP26 Climate Change Conference is scheduled in Glasgow from 31 Oct to 12 November 2021. Ten days from the conference, the NZ government has yet to make an updated pledge on its Nationally Determined Contribution to be presented at the conference. In October 2021, the government released an Emissions Reduction Plan discussion document for consultation. The document has been widely criticised by environmental NGOs, especially in the area of agriculture.
This focus area goes beyond reviewing and influencing NZ government policies on climate change, the drivers (notably agriculture, landuse, energy and transport) and transition pathways. We attempt to go broader to consider ecological collapse (which form the twin climate-ecological crisis), and deeper into the systemic changes needed to mitigate and alleviate the impacts of the crises on the biosphere, including humanity.
Our tasks include:
- Collaborate with Members and others working on related issues to amplify our impacts;
- Influence government policies through direct engagement with departments and formal submissions;
- Collate and share information with Members and the wider public, including publications on climate change, energy, agriculture, forestry, ecological overshoot, nature-based solutions, soil carbon, blue carbon, degrowth, just transition and false solutions (e.g. geoengineering, hydrogen);
- Communicate and advocate for urgent actions for climate and ecological restoration while honoring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and social justice.