Labour's Clare Curran should be telling her own party to get serious about climate change, not Professor Jim Flynn.

IT IS DISAPPOINTING THAT Clare Curran, Dunedin South Labour MP, should make such an adversarial response to Professor Jim Flynn's view that much of South Dunedin's housing will be at sea level or below it, within the next two decades - a direct consequence of climate change.

Curran's response is doubly unfortunate because her party's policy on climate change is so woefully inadequate.

Flynn says that huge erosion of Antarctic ice that begun in 2014 means predictions on the rate of climate change have changed. He told a public meeting this week that there were nearly 2000 homes in Dunedin, mainly in South Dunedin, built below 25cm, and a 25cm sea-level rise could occur before 2034. He said by 2090, South Dunedin would be under 5m of water, along with Forsyth Barr Stadium, the Otago Polytechnic and other low-lying areas.
Jim Flynn

Clare Curran's response has been to describe Flynn's predictions as 'alarmist'.

'Can we please be more serious about this?' puffed Curran, which is exactly a charge you could make about the Labour Party's response to climate change.

While we might argue the toss about the validity of Flynn's figures, the fact remains that sea level rise in the 20th Century has been faster than in any of the previous 27 centuries.

This data also comes in line with the predictions made by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that sea level will rise by 50cm to 100cm by 2100. This will threaten the survival of coastal cities, entire island nations and - yes - houses in South Dunedin.

Last year the Royal Society of New Zealand released a report that suggests that climate change could result in at least 30cm and possibly more than one metre of sea-level rise this century. Such changes, would also result in more coastal erosion and more flooding.

But it is the inadequate policy response of Curran's party that needs to be scrutinised in the same manner that she wants to disparage Jim Flynn's argument.

Labour's 'solution' to climate change is a transition to a so-called 'low carbon economy'. But this is a band aid solution at best because it is capitalism - not carbon- that is at the root of climate change. It is capitalism that is driving the world to an unimaginable environmental disaster, all in the name of profit.

Naomi Klein : 'Green capitalism' is no solution to climate change.
The Paris climate agreement, which both Labour and the Green' support, offers no chance of containing global warming under the threshold that science suggests must not be passed - above two degrees Celsius - if we are to avoid extremely dangerous environmental damage throughout the world.

The agreement is also not binding and, even if all the pledges were met, it would still result in the further warming of the planet by three degrees celsius. And given the Trump administration's cavalier toward climate change, we have embarked down an even more dangerous path. Indeed scientists say we’re on track for a 4 celsius degree rise by the end of the century, which would be catastrophic for life on earth.

As writer and activist Naomi Klein and others have long argued, so-called 'green capitalism' is not a solution to climate change

Our present economic system must be upended if we are to have any chance to save the planet from the worst impacts of climate change. But there is no comprehension of this within the Labour Party or the Green's. They just want to fiddle with the levers of the machine, when the machine itself is the problem.

Clare Curran should be telling her party to get serious about climate change and abandon its commitment to market fundamentalism. Unfortunately, there's zero chance of this happening.


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