The Green Party celebrated 10 years in the New Zealand Parliament yesterday. Happy birthday! It was especially fitting that the anniversary coincided with the beginning of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
In the past ten years climate change has evolved from a fringe topic into the most pressing issue of the global political mainstream. That’s why over 100 world leaders will be attending the Copenhagen leaders’ conference next week. And while the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports have done essential work on explaining the science of climate change it has been Green political parties, both locally and internationally, who have provided the essential political and parliamentary voice to the debate.
Imagine what National and Labour left to their own devises would have done for the environment without the Greens continually raising issues of sustainability, conservation and environmental protection in Parliament. As it is both of the major political parties track records on the environment have been shockingly bad in recent years. Our greenhouse gas emission rose 22% from 1990 to 2007, we have an ETS that will be bad for the environment and is likely to see our greenhouse gas outputs rise even further and National has slammed the door on such basic carbon reducing policy as fuel economy standard for cars. While John Key vacillated on going to Copenhagen the Greens published new ideas on moving towards a green economy that creates jobs and reduces greenhouse emissions.
So happy decade Greens. May there be many more to come.
– Andrew Campbell