Politics

Jacinda Ardern Has Declared A Climate Emergency For New Zealand

Imagine having a leader who acknowledges climate change

Jacinda Ardern has made good on an election campaign promise and declared a climate change emergency in New Zealand.

Last Wednesday globally beloved world leader, and New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern declared a climate change emergency to federal parliament.

New Zealand is now one of only 33 countries to acknowledge climate change. But, you guessed it, Australia isn’t one of them.

In her impassioned speech to the parliament, Ardern acknowledges both the mental and physical impact climate change has on the next generation of young people.

“This declaration is an acknowledgement of the next generation, an acknowledgement of the burden that they will carry if we do not get this right and if we do not take action now, ” sad Ardern, “We cannot underestimate a generation’s angst, full of anxiety over the reality of climate change for them and their generation…For them, it is instinctual, it is tangible, it is real…It is about the country they will inherit,” Ardern continued, “And it’s about the burden of debt they will inherit unless we make sure that we demonstrate leadership on this issue.”

New Zealand MPs voted on the motion to declare climate change an emergency, with 76-43 in favour. While the declaration is mostly symbolic with no specific policies attached, Ardern took the opportunity to restate the country’s initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

These initiatives include requiring public agencies to be carbon neutral by 2025, planting one billion trees, and have the country run on 100% renewable energy by 2030. In 2019, the NZ government passed a bill, promising the country would become carbon neutral by 2050.

Meanwhile, in Australia, our government is yet to declare a climate emergency despite the drought and bushfire crisis over the last few years.

In fact, on the same day New Zealand made its climate change declaration, both the Labor and Liberal parties blocked a motion for a climate emergency declaration by the Greens.

A motion was similarly blocked by the Morrison government in federal parliament in October of 2019.

Apparently, Australia’s determination to best or at least match New Zealand only applies to sports. Which is why it’s so important to support grassroots climate change activist organisations like Seed Mob.

Seed Mob is an Indigenous-led independent Climate Action organisation that is absolutely worth supporting. They are currently sorting donations to support and grow their network, and protest mining and fracking on Indigenous land. Check out their website here.

Ardern’s declaration, while mostly symbolic, is still an important step toward addressing Climate Change. Its also a step Australia has, rather shamefully, yet to take.