Last month on the eve of COP26, the government set out its updated international commitments to reduce emissions – which have been heavily criticised for outsourcing our responsibilities.
That’s because two thirds of the reductions are planned to be offshore rather than through reducing emissions here in Aotearoa. In addition, international experts say what we’ve pledged falls short of our fair share to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
At the same time the government has been asking for public feedback on its emissions reduction plan, which sets out how New Zealand will reduce emissions.
NOT FAR ENOUGH
Compared to what’s come before, this plan is an improvement. However, it’s light on detail, and its proposals are nowhere near enough to secure the emissions reductions we need.
The PSA doesn’t think the plan goes far enough fast enough, and that’s what we told the government in our submission.
The government is publishing the final version of its plan in May 2022, and it will need to be more ambitious to avoid the most extreme effects of climate change.
It’s not just about the level of reductions though - the way they are achieved is vitally important.
SUPPORTING THE VULNERABLE
For years the union movement has been pushing for what’s called a ‘just transition’, that ensures the benefits of moving away from high-emissions industries and adapting to a low-carbon future aren’t won at the expense of the most vulnerable people.
We saw what happened during the ruthless reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. The lasting impact on incomes and inequalities is clear. There was no consideration then of a ‘just transition’, and we cannot afford to make the same mistake twice.
Our members have told us the government must move away from industries that contribute to climate change, while providing social support and retraining so workers can move into sustainable industries.
As workplaces transform, workers must be properly supported, and they, with the support of their unions, must be central to decision-making processes.
A just transition is important to us as a union, and features prominently in our recently refreshed strategic goals. Our goals talk about transforming work so it is valued, secure, and creates wellbeing for all working people.
People’s work will be transformed by climate change no matter what.
With the backing of the Eco Network and other PSA groups, we’ll keep pushing for transformation that leaves no-one behind.
We’ll also advocate for housing, public transport, infrastructure and strong public and community services that will help us get through the climate crisis that’s already on its way.
Find out more and get involved at www.psa.org.nz/econet