Ardern ‘falls short’ in UN climate change speech

By Jessica Tyson

Greenpeace says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s speech the UN Climate Summit in New York this morning fell short of addressing the issue of climate change.

In her speech, Ardern issued a plea to use a collaborative approach on carbon emissions prices to tackle climate change.

“Let’s start by putting climate change at the heart of our trade relationships," Ardern said in her speech. 

“Surely if we’re all committed to living up to the Paris Agreement, we can find ways to cooperate on putting a price on emissions whilst still competing on the quality and price of our goods and services.”

But Greenpeace says Ardern should take “stronger action” to tackle climate change. The organisation is calling for immediate action from her and the New Zealand Government to curb emissions from New Zealand’s biggest polluters, the dairy and agricultural industries.

Greenpeace Executive Director Russel Norman says, "If this Government is serious about climate action, it must halve the herd, ban synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and invest significantly in a shift to more plant-based regenerative farming. Land and how it’s used can either be a cause of the climate crisis or a solution to it."

But Ardern said in her speech she was, “particularly proud" that over 60 per cent of the total emissions profile have agreed to take voluntary action on climate change by signing the Climate Leaders’ Coalition joint statement.

The Climate Leaders Coalition was launched in July 2018 to promote business leadership and collective action on the issue of climate change. A total of 121 Chief Executives have signed so far.

“Having a network of business leaders committed to science-based targets in line with the Paris Agreement creates incredible leverage and the opportunity to apply international best practice to dramatically reduce their emissions,” says Ardern.

Minister Shane Jones told Te Ao he supported the Prime Minister and her delivery.

"It's always good to see the Prime Minister explaining what we're doing in terms of the environment and climate change in such a [robust] sort of situation."

To demand ”climate justice" from the Government advocacy group School Strike 4 Climate NZ (SS4C NZ) say they have organised mass strikes across New Zealand this Friday, September 27.

It will be the third strike and the organisers are calling on adults to join in.

SS4C NZ Tony Huang spokesperson says, “We will not back down: we will continue to make our voices heard until all of our demands are met. The cost of inaction is far too high when our lives are at stake, cultures and homelands are at stake.”

Hui with Trump

This morning, Ardern also met with the United States President Donald Trump.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the meeting was is a "diplomatic coup".

“Securing a 25-minute long meeting with the US President during the UN Leaders Week is an achievement in its own right given the pressure on the President’s schedule,” says Peters.

He says a "very positive" discussion was held between Ardern and Trump on a range of international issues and areas of shared interest, including on advancing bilateral trade interests.

“In the world of diplomacy, this level of engagement is gold. The President’s meeting also followed a meeting with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the Prime Minister’s representation of New Zealand on climate change, and the Christchurch Call says Peters.

“The so-called mega-Monday has been a very good day for delivery of New Zealand interests on the world stage."