NZ walks the talk for world’s wellbeing

New Zealand is part of 23 countries walking the talk when it comes to pushing for effective climate action. The Declaration for Ambition on climate change was signed by the High Ambition Coalition group of countries, including New Zealand, recently. The declaration underscores the urgency for countries to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020 in line with the Paris Agreement; put in place long-term strategies to reach net zero emissions and secure the support and investment to ensure effective implementation. The Health Promotion Forum of NZ has welcomed the move to step up climate action. HPF’s Executive Director, Sione Tu’itahi says it is heartening to see nations trying to work together for our collective wellbeing. “Climate change must be addressed now if we are to offer a healthy future for our grandchildren,” he says. Minister for Climate Change James Shaw says as the world works towards the next United Nations climate change conference in Poland later this year, it’s important to join with other countries to push for effective climate action and implementation of the Paris Agreement. “Taking action to reduce emissions at home is important, which is why the Government is developing a Zero Carbon Bill … “This is about protecting a stable climate for future generations of people in New Zealand and around the world, and helping our Pacific neighbours avoid the potential impacts of climate change and rising seas,” Mr Shaw says. For most countries, a net zero target is widely seen as necessary to be consistent with promises made under the Paris climate treaty to limit global warming to well below 2C and ideally 1.5C, the level scientists agree is necessary to minimise climatic disruption and save low-lying island states. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5C, due to be released in October, is likely to confirm that limiting warming to 1.5C is feasible, but hard to achieve. Climate Action Network International points out that this therefore makes it essential and urgent for all countries to join these front-runners and step up to enhance their NDCs by 2020. Signatories to the declaration are Argentina, Britain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Spain and Sweden.