|Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg.|
The United Nations has warned that greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling 7.6 percent annually by 2020 to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C by 2030. But the Labour-led Government climate change strategy is based on targeting carbon neutrality by 2050. We're simply not doing enough and people like Climate Change Minister James Shaw have failed to grasp the urgency of the situation we find ourselves in.
ON MONDAY THE United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2018.
'There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change' the head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
If this news isn't concerning enough, the United Nations has delivered more bad news. It says that temperatures are on track to rise as much as 3.9°C by the end of the century.
According to the annual Emissions Gap report, produced by the U.N. Environmental Progam (UNEP)greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling 7.6 percent annually by 2020 to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C by 2030. Think about that for a moment. Global temperatures must begin filling by 7.5 percent. Next year. At a time when the level of green houses gases in the atmosphere continue to climb.
The scientific evidence is overwhelming; slow, incremental reforms will not be enough to prevent a climate catastrophe. It really is either revolution or climate barbarism.
Inger Andersen, UNEP's executive director told the media that only 'major transformations of economies and societies will be enough.'
'It is evident that incremental changes will not be enough and there is a need for rapid and transformational action...This shows that countries simply cannot wait until the end of 2020, when new climate commitments are due, to step up action. They—and every city, region, business, and individual—need to act now.'
What has been conspicuous by its absence is any response from the Labour-led government, its Green Party partner or even Green co-leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw. That may because both reports underline that the Government has failed to grasp the urgency of the situation we find ourselves in and its climate policies are woefully inadequate.
Even though 170,000 people demonstrated in September for more urgent action on climate change, James Shaw continues to bluster that New Zealand is heading toward carbon neutrality in 2050. And we're supposed to be impressed by this.
While we might heap derision on the climate change deniers, fully-subscribed members of the tin-foil hat brigade that they are, climate change delayers or obstructionists like James Shaw are more dangerous than the loony climate change denialists like Magic Talk's Sean Plunket or Peter Williams. James Shaw recognises the problem but is not prepared to act appropriately. His are the actions of someone motivated by political expediency and protecting the interests of the political and economic status quo.
Earlier this year Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the co-sponsor and chief advocate of the proposed Green New Deal for the United States, tweeted that people who accept climate science but don’t act at the scale that’s necessary to avert the crisis are nearly as bad as those who deny the problem exists in the first place.
'With either one if they get their way, we’re toast,' she tweeted. Unfortunately, as it stands, we've allowed the Labour-led government to get its way.