David Tong, WWF-New Zealand senior campaigner, said “This is a landmark global moment. The world’s top scientists have confirmed that it is still 100% possible to keep climate change below 1.5°C. Together, we can ensure a safe climate future remains possible.
“The difference between 1.5°C and 2°C is huge. For our Pacific neighbours, it’s an existential difference. Climate change is happening now. In Kiribati, I’ve seen homes flooded by salt water, wells that have become undrinkable – and incredible, vibrant people who are leading the transition to a clean energy future. They're not drowning, they're fighting.
“New Zealand has an opportunity now to show global leadership on climate change, to show our Pacific neighbours that we stand with them, and to unlock a safe climate future for all New Zealanders. As our government drafts the Zero Carbon Act, we urge them to make sure that it will deliver what our country and our planet need for a safe climate future.
“The report shows that short-lived gases like methane are incredibly important when it comes to keeping warming below 1.5°C. All sectors and industries need to work together to cut these emissions. That’s why we need the Zero Carbon Act’s 2050 target to be net zero across all sectors and for all gases.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global climate and energy practice and former president of the UN climate negotiations, said “Governments asked for this report to be done. Now we expect them to heed the science and ensure a political commitment to strengthen their emission targets by 2020. We cannot afford to contemplate any alternative.”
David continued: "This is a challenge but New Zealanders have a history of doing incredible things in the face of big global challenges. By acting now, our businesses, communities and every single one of us can reap the benefits of being a first mover in the switch to a new clean energy economy."