One hundred and fifty academics and researchers from around Aotearoa, including Dame Anne Salmond, Emeriti Professors
and several Fellows of the Royal Society, have signed a strongly-worded open letter to the Government demanding bold and
urgent action to tackle climate change.
The letter refers to the recent Special Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which contains its
strongest message yet about the seriousness of the situation and the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5C. The
report says we have about 12 years to make the dramatic reduction in global net carbon emissions necessary to get
climate change under control. And, it says that to do so will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in
all aspects of society”.
“There’s a big gap between the severity of the warnings from the world’s most authoritative scientific body on climate
change and the actions of our government. They need to be honest with us about the risks we’re facing and act
accordingly” says senior lecturer Cordelia Lockett, who wrote and coordinated the letter.
“The letter received huge support in a very short time. Clearly, academics and researchers around the country are deeply
concerned about climate breakdown and want the government to act swiftly and decisively.
“But it’s the wider New Zealand public as well. A survey from earlier this year showed that 79 percent of people
believed climate action needs to start immediately. A large majority also said we need to meet or exceed our
international commitments, and that we should act even if other countries don’t. The message is clear.
“New Zealand has a track record of bold actions which have had historic influence on the global stage. We need similar
courage and leadership now.”
“This government has shown a commitment to addressing climate change, including the Zero Carbon Bill and steps to limit
fossil fuel prospecting, but it needs to ensure that its policies actually produce the deep and lasting emissions
reductions required, especially in the transport, industry and agriculture sectors” says climate scientist Professor
James Renwick, one of the signatories to the letter.