New Zealand Needs to Take Leadership Role on Climate Change

(Green Party of NZ) July 22, 2009 – Green Party MP Kennedy Graham today challenged Prime Minister John Key to lead the way on climate change response in the Pacific.

“New Zealand should take a leadership role on protecting our Pacific neighbours from the disproportionate burden of climate change they bear. We have a regional responsibility to support endangered, low-lying islands by committing to responsible emissions targets.”

Dr Graham – and his colleague Keith Locke – asked Mr Key questions today in the House about his recent trip around the Pacific and the threat climate change poses to the very survival of several countries in the region.

The Green MPs questioned Mr Key on whether island leaders had voiced concerns over climate change, how New Zealand would respond, and what steps would be outlined at the Pacific Island Forum leaders meeting next month.

Dr Graham said Mr Key’s replies were disappointing, and urged the Prime Minister to take a more proactive role on the Pacific’s impending ecological crisis.

“Small islands bear a disproportionate burden from climate change. Rising seawaters threaten the very existence of nations such as Tuvalu and Kiribati.

“Pacific nations are taking action themselves. Island leaders – in their first-ever United Nations resolution – have asked for a report on the security implications of climate change.

“And many island nations have already set themselves ambitious targets for converting to renewable energy sources. I acknowledge the work the Government is endeavouring to do in this area. But a New Zealand commitment on stronger emissions reductions would support our island neighbours and send a very strong signal that we are serious about our regional leadership.

“And a more definitive stance on welcoming stateless persons –climate change refugees – to New Zealand would show we are serious about protecting our region from the ravages of this impending crisis.”

Source: Green Party of NZ

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