2009 is a critical year for the future of the planet's climate. World leaders are gathering in Copenhagen in December to attempt to agree on a successor to the current Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which expires in 2012.
The successor to Kyoto needs to mandate deep and rapid global cuts in net greenhouse gas emissions, and fund the means by which these cuts can be made, if the bulk of the planet's surface is to remain liveable for its existing macrofauna (that's big creatures, like humans and trees) much beyond the mid-point of this century. Things really have got that serious.
The science is arguing - screaming - for action now, but the politicians who will gather in Copenhagen have many powerful interests whispering in their ear, urging them to do nothing. To counteract this,several major climate campaigns are gearing up for action in the lead-up to Copenhagen. If you want a meaningful agreement at Copenhagen, I suggest you add your voice to one or more of these. In New Zealand, there's an action this coming Friday to kick things off.
That says it all, really. The target is to get the global concentration of greenhouse gases back down to 350 parts CO2-equivalent, which has a high probability of being a safe level. The political goal is to get world leaders gathering at the Copenhagen climate summit later this year to sign on to such a goal. And the strategy is for a massive worldwide day of action on 24 October, with all the actions featuring the number 350 in some way.
Around the world, you can find out what's planned for your area, and get involved, at the 350.org website. And in New Zealand, the corresponding site is 350.org.nz. This is a campaign in which you can really exercise your creativity!
Greenpeace Sign On Campaign
As I've lamented previously, the National-led Government which was elected in New Zealand in late 2008 has been gaily throwing out many of the previous Labour-led Government's initiatives on climate change. Prime Minister John Key has gone on record, most recently earlier this year in Investigate magazine, as a climate change sceptic. It certainly won't be out of any sense of personal commitment that he signs New Zealand up to an agreement at Copenhagen.
Therefore, New Zealanders who want our Government to take meaningful action on climate change need to make it very clear to John Key what the political consequences of doing nothing will be. One way is by signing on to Greenhouse's Sign On campaign. Here's the call to action:
Climate change is happening faster than anyone expected. In December this year world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to Sign On to a global agreement for action. For NZ to do its bit to help avoid catastrophic impacts, John Key needs to go to Copenhagen and Sign On to reduce New Zealand’s emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.
You can join the campaign here.
People across New Zealand are Freezing at 1pm on 5 June (this coming Friday) to show their support for united action on climate change. You can join a Freeze in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch or Dunedin at http://freezenz.wordpress.com
So there we are. For a small commitment of time, we have the chance to make a difference on climate change in 2009. Let's hook into it!