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Oxfam urges NZ government to walk the talk on climate change

In its first in-depth statement on climate change, Oxfam New Zealand has called on the government to put its carbon where its mouth is by establishing an overarching framework for climate change policy with measurable targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Climate change is already having a devastating impact on people in developing countries, particularly in the Pacific,” said Barry Coates, Oxfam’s Executive Director. “New Zealand has a crucial role.”

“Our emissions per person rank sixth-highest in the developed world – that figure shines a shameful light on our clean, green image. But New Zealand has the ability to dramatically cut its greenhouse gas emissions. Do not underestimate the power of setting that kind of example for the rest of the world to follow, because it is huge,” added Coates.

According to the submission made in response to five governmental policy proposals, New Zealand should push for strong, binding, emissions reduction targets in international negotiations; include climate change assessments into all of its development assistance programmes; and commit new and additional funding to climate change adaptation measures in developing countries.

“Climate change threatens to undermine decades of poverty alleviation and human development,” said Coates. “It’s vital that we help developing nations cope with the droughts, floods, rising sea level and other effects that they had almost no part in creating, while at the same time addressing the real causes of the problem.

“Quite simply, it is not enough to protect ourselves from climate change, while ignoring others. We must also protect the lives of the poor and vulnerable and ensure there is afuture fortheir children and grandchildren.”

Oxfam New Zealand is a non-profit development organisation with programme activities concentrated in the Pacific and East Asia. We work closely with the 12 other affiliates of Oxfam International, who have collectively identified climate change as a strategic priority. Oxfam New Zealand joined the Climate Defence Network in August 2006.

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