The Appeal was presented on the steps of parliament, April 9th with support from Generation Zero.
Please note we will continue to collect signatures and support from organisations with a view to submitting them to the Select Committee.
Economist Geoff Bertram gave the following address:
My name is Geoff Bertram. I’m an academic economist and much of my work focuses on the role of markets as instruments of human wellbeing. But wisdom in policy-making lies in acknowledging and understanding the limits of markets.
Those limits come in at least two forms:
- There are things the market fails to do in the absence of policy intervention: pricing carbon, for example, or giving due weight to the interests of the poor and dispossessed.
- There are things that money can’t buy, involving human values that often have to be protected from the encroachment of market values
Future generations are not well represented in today’s markets, but their interests deserve acknowledgment and respect from today’s policymakers. The precautionary principle is important here: do not do irreparable damage to the natural systems on which humanity depends.
Thorough and open-minded risk assessment is inherently part of the precautionary principle.
So I encourage all political parties to take this appeal seriously.
Bryan Gould, (Former Vice-chancellor and Chair Research Science and Technology, Hamilton). supported the presentation:
“Conventional thinking has for far too long seen the sustainability of our environment as a side issue – at best, as a mere adjunct to, and at worst, as an annoying distraction from, the real business of running an economy. We need to change that mindset. There can be and will be no economy, and no business, if we fail to take the long view – if we fail to act now to ensure that our environment is sustained into the future.”
Professor Bob Lloyd gave the following address:
“My name is Bob Lloyd and I teach energy studies at the University of Otago.
Honourable Members. As parliamentarians you have been elected to govern New Zealand.
This duty is often interpreted as meaning that you should facilitate the growth of the New Zealand economy for the betterment of its people.
Unfortunately at this point in time we are at a unique point in the history of civilisation.
According to my research we have two significant problems, first our use of fossil fuels is reaching the limit of what the earth can supply.
Second the carbon dioxide produced is reaching the limit of what the atmosphere can safely absorb and is causing the earth’s climate to change.
Despite approaching fossil fuel limits there are, however, sufficient reserves remaining to cause major climate effects, as documented by the latest IPCC reports.
It is apparent that growing our economy using fossil fuels, is going to cause unprecedented risks for the continuation of society, both in NZ and elsewhere.
At present rates of growth of fossil fuel use we will have a one in three chance of exceeding the 2 degree temperature limit, agreed at Copenhagen, by 2030 or around 15 years from now.
I believe that this parliament must show leadership before we cross tipping points that will make further action pointless.
It is clear that an urgent transition must be made to a fossil fuel free economy.”
Gerry Te Kapa Coates MNZM
“Kia ora koutou, e hoa ma.
When I started Engineers for Social Responsibility in 1983 the major threat to humanity was nuclear war. Now 30 years later the major threat is human-induced climate change, or global warming.
Did we do anything about the threat of nuclear war? Yes, global leaders took action by making deep cuts to the number of nuclear armed missiles, and other major political steps. The threat is still there but it is much reduced.
What are we doing about climate change? What is New Zealand doing about it, and what are global leaders doing about it? Very little. The average person still thinks that engineers and scientists can solve the problem, and it will go away. The tools to do that are already around. Renewable energy based mainly on solar energy could be a reality if there was a political and economic will to do it. We, the people need to asks the Government for a Wise response to reports such as the IPCC issued two weeks ago. Governments will act if we, the people, demand it.”
The Green Party, Labour and United Future indicated support for the Appeal:
Labour Party: Wise heads want wise response
United Future: ‘UnitedFuture is broadly supportive of the direction of your Appeal and petition to Parliament, and will be willing to work with other parties to further the issues you have expressed concern about.’ Hon Peter Dunne