While Auckland struggled to cope with a torrential downpour and severe flooding, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman tweeted that we need to start taking the climate crisis seriously. But she is a parliamentary representative of a Green Party that has failed to do exactly that. 

THE DELUGE THAT has descended on Auckland is a harsh reminder of the increasingly more extreme weather events that the planet is now confronted with because of climate change.

That's also the conclusion of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) special report Explaining Extreme Events in 2021 and 2022 from a Climate Perspective, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week.

The report is the latest in the 11-year series Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective. Of the more than 200 individual studies included in the series, more than 80 percent of them found a connection between an extreme weather event and the climate crisis.

The new report, among other things, notes that in 2021 the UK saw its wettest May since 1836. A study found that the precipitation was made about 1.5 times more likely because of climate change. In addition, 2021 gave northern China its wettest September on record, an event made two times more likely by the human burning of greenhouse gases.

Other findings of the reported included:

1. A record warm February in East Asia in 2021, made four to 20 times more likely by climate change.

2. A drought in Iran in 2020 and 2021, made 50 percent more likely.

3. A July 2021 marine heat wave in the northwest Pacific was made 43 times more likely.

4. The weather behind an April 2021 wildfire in Cape Town was made 90 percent more likely.

NOAA Chief Scientist Sarah Kapnick said in a press release: 'The extreme nature of these events is very alarming. We need to understand these events are signs that things are getting hotter faster than we had expected.'

Yet, despite the very real threat that the climate crisis will overwhelm us, the political establishment continues to fail us in its response. It continues to act as if we can solve the challenge of climate change while leaving the political and economic status quo largely undisturbed. Capitalism can carry on much as normal, the twin motors of more growth and more profit can carry on apace.

Our own Green Party, alarmingly, is prepared to do little but tinker with the levers and dials of the very machine that is eating up the planet. It remains committed to market-driven policies that are taking the country in entirely the wrong direction.

Unlike the New Zealand Green Party, many Green parties around the world are now calling for 'system change, not climate change'. Greta Thunberg, the voice of her generation, says that in order to fight climate change we need to change our political and economic systems.

Of corporate friendly politicians like Climate Change minister James Shaw, Thunberg  observes that they 'seem more focused on giving false hope to those causing the problem rather than telling the blunt truth that would give us a chance to act...If solutions within this system are so difficult to find then maybe we should change the system itself.'

Perhaps that's something Green MP Golriz Ghahraman should reflect on. Yesterday she tweeted:

'Scenes of flooding, especially the unprecedented levels in West Auckland, are terrifying. Thinking of the communities battling through this disaster tonight. This is what #ClimateCrisis will bring again and again, around the globe, until we take it seriously in policy and action.'

Talk is cheap. Let's see the Green Party start taking the climate crisis seriously because it hasn't so far.


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