The Green Party says that this year's general section will be all about climate change. If that's the case, then why isn't the Green Party campaigning for a Green New Deal?
THE LATEST report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, does not make for pleasant reading. Despite all the rhetoric from the politicians about the urgent need to address the growing crisis of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Emissions in 2019 were about 12% higher than they were in 2010 and 54% higher than they were in 1990, largely due to increases in fossil fuel production, industrial activities and methane emissions.
The report tells us only a narrow - and rapidly shrinking - pathway now remains to averting climate catastrophe. That path requires us to cut emissions 50 percent by 2030, and to reach net zero emissions by 2050. So far, we're going in the opposite direction and there's little evidence to suggest that we're about to come to our senses anytime soon.
We know we must reduce carbon emissions - and rapidly - but we just can't do it under our present economic model. The accumulation of capital remains central to our economic model, and it is eating up the planet. Capitalism will have to be replaced as society’s operating system, setting out goals other than the boundless accumulation of private wealth. It's about now that the wagons circle the political establishment to keep out such outlandish proposals.
The problem is that while the call for 'system change, not climate change' grows ever louder we remain captive to politicians who think we can continue with our present economic and political order but without climate change. These politicians want to have their cake and eat it too. But as Naomi Klein writes in This Changes Everything : Capitalism v the Planet: 'The triumph of market logic, with its ethos of domination and fierce competition, is paralysing almost all serious efforts to respond'.
The fantasy of an environmentally benign capitalism also continues to shape the policies of the New Zealand Green Party. In response to the IPCC report Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, in election campaign mode, commented on the AM Show that New Zealand needed a government with more Green's in it. That's the same view that fellow co-leader James Shaw emphasised in his State of the Planet speech last weekend.
But even if there were further Green MPs in Parliament and if maybe one or two made it to cabinet in a Labour-led government, little would change. That's because the Green Party continues to peddle the non-solutions advocated by business interests, under the umbrella of 'green capitalism'.
The irony is that the Green Party, its leadership and their fellow Green MP colleagues, signed up in 2021 to the Global Alliance for a Green New Deal. It proposes the complete overhaul of the world's economies, and largely follows the plan expressed by Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Naomi Klein, Greta Thunberg and others.
But the Green Party has done nothing to promote a GND for New Zealand. That job has been left to others, who have nothing like the financial and organisational resources that the Green Party enjoy. It's almost as if the cone of silence has descended upon the parliamentary Green Party as far as the GND is concerned. Even Chloe Swarbrick, who does at least recognise that our current economic system is a problem, has never talked about the GND.
The uniform failure to even address the issue of a GND, never mind adopt it as part of the Green manifesto, can only be viewed as deliberate. Despite all the big talk of a new, uncompromising Green Party emerging after the election, keeping away from the GND can only because the parliamentary Green Party are concerned about staying in harmony with the Labour Party. Its looking very much like that when the going gets tough, the Green Party goes missing.
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