Despite claiming that climate change was a fundamental issue for her government, Jacinda Ardern's policy announcements have been less than impressive.

IN HER ELECTION campaign opening speech Jacinda Ardern declared that climate change was ""my generation's nuclear free moment and I am determined that we will tackle it head on."

It was a comment that attracted Ardern a lot of favourable headlines, both in New Zealand and overseas. It even impressed a right wing journalist like Patrick Gower who wrote: "It is catchy, credible and has cut-through. It is a great line. It is an absolute banger of a line."

But despite Ardern's declared commitment to tackle change 'head on', her announcement that her government is aiming for zero carbon emissions by 2050 flies in the face of the scientific evidence that says the world must hit zero carbon emissions well before 2040 in order to ensure global warming does not go above 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century - which was the stated aim of Paris climate change agreement.

And despite saying that climate change is her generation's 'nuclear free moment'  it obviously isn't that important to Ardern because she hasn't ruled out further fossil fuel extraction. She told RNZ National that the coalition government will allow new permits for coal mining, offshore oil drilling and fracking on "a case-by-case basis.'

Unsurprisingly there is no recognition from Ardern that tackling climate change requires fundamental economic and political changes. While it is clear that our present economic system is devouring the planet and must be upended if we are to save the planet from the worst impacts of climate change, Ardern thinks we can get away with tinkering with capitalism a bit to create a so-called 'sustainable economy'.

That certainly is the intention of the already disappointing Climate Change minister James Shaw. He claims that setting a zero carbon emissions date for 2050 will provide "the certainty businesses need to make long-term investment decisions, and it will drive the growth and innovation we need."

Never mind folks, Julie Ann Genter will still be riding her bicycle to Parliament. All is not lost...


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