Whatever is important to you, tell the government by June 3rd.
The Green Climate Fund was in the news this week. The Fund was agreed in 2009 as a United Nations mechanism to assist developing countries’ adaptation to and mitigation of the impacts of climate change.

It is a fund that will redistribute money pledged by developed countries, to developing ones. More than US$10 billion was pledged but it was only this week that the fund has been activated. That occurred when Japan signed their contribution agreement and the fund reached it’s 50% activation threshold.

It has taken six years for action to follow the words of politicians. Perhaps I should be happy with that time scale – climate change has been talked about by politicians for 24 years!

GCF-multigonNew Zealand’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund, $3 million, is a paltry sum given our disproportionate and ever-growing contribution to carbon emissions. On a per capita basis, our emissions in 2013 ranked us number three in the world. The Ministry for the Environment’s Climate Change website says “… a person in New Zealand accounts for nearly twice the amount of emissions than a person in the UK, and more than seven times the amount of a person in India.”

We need to do more than talk. We could show leadership in meeting the challenge now clearly before us. That was the overwhelming theme from last week’s climate change consultation meeting in Auckland.

Instead, our politicians continue to talk about the issue. They epitomise the underwhelming posturing of a government that has its head in ever warming sands.

Climate Change Minister Tim Groser does seem to have a strategy – to do the least he has to at this time.

His more open predecessor, Dr Nick Smith, set an ambitious “–50 by 50” goal back in 2011 – to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050.

That goal was set as part of another public consultation process. Four years ago. Dr Smith saw that goal as “a realistic time-bound target for New Zealand.”

So what’s changed in the intervening four years?

Only that back then, we had the 11th highest emissions per capita. Now we are the third highest.

That level of growth in our carbon emissions is simply not sustainable.

So what can you do as an individual?

As well as moving to the high country, let the government know what is important to you by completing the climate change consultation submission form at the Ministry for the Environment’s website (mfe.govt.nz).

Is it short term economic security you want? Or is it about assuring a long term future for your great grandchildren?

Perhaps you could tell them that reducing our emissions needs to be done and that meeting targets by purchasing carbon credits from overseas does not achieve a reduction.

How about telling them that the cost of taking a 20% cut in carbon emissions ($500 million) is much much less than the economic hit that occurs with each and every climate bomb ($2 billion). Investing in green technology is an investment rather than a dead cost.

Tell them that you are happy to pay the annual $130 personal cost of a 20% cut in emissions if it means that your grandchildren have less climate catastrophes in their future.

Consider telling them to change the “–50 by 50” target and enshrine a “–50 by 30” goal in legislation.

Whatever is important to you, tell the government by June 3rd.