WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Long-term action required to combat climate crisis

WelCom September 2019:

Lisa Beech

Long-term, enduring legislation to combat the climate crisis is required, the Wellington Archdiocesan Commission for Ecology, Justice and Peace (EJP) has submitted on the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Bill.

The Carbon Zero Bill aims to establish a Climate Change Commission, which would set targets for reductions in carbon emissions, and propose policies and mechanisms to achieve them. The Bill was introduced into Parliament in May this year and is being now considered by the Environment Select Committee.

Citing Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ on the care of our common home, the EJP Commission says the climate emergency facing the world cannot be changed by short-term goals and thinking.

‘New Zealand society has an intergenerational responsibility, for which the short-term thinking of a Parliamentary term is unhelpful,’ the submission says. ‘Parliament needs to look beyond today’s voting population. Many New Zealanders who will have to live with the consequences of climate change are currently too young to vote.’

The submission called for a strengthening of support given to people and regions who will be disproportionately affected by the transition to a zero-net emissions economy.

The EJP commission says, ‘It is important outcomes of changes that may negatively impact some groups, while benefitting the wider community, will not be left to the market. Our whole society needs to provide loving support, in the form of attentiveness, care and additional support for those whose lives will be disrupted by the changes.’

The submission says while there are considerable costs in implementing changes, the impacts of climate change will also impose considerable costs on society. ‘The cost of not taking action exceeds the cost of taking action.’

The EJP Commission addressed the Environment Select Committee on 26 August. Their written submission is available on Parliament’s website: tinyurl.com/EJP-Climate-Change-Submission or www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/52SCEN_EVI_87861_EN10851/7edc5cb123cfb447de2d8bb7f22ed19ec5079e5e