We can’t afford to choose adaptation over cutting emissions – suggesting otherwise is dangerous | James Shaw

Despite what some New Zealand right-wingers are arguing, adaptation will not help us in a world three degrees warmer

I cannot say how the world will look for our kids, but what I do know is that it will reflect the decisions we take today. The past two years we’ve witnessed a seemingly never-ending cascade of climate-turbocharged disasters. Canterbury, the West Coast, Nelson-Tasman, Tairāwhiti, Auckland, Waikato, and Northland. Aotearoa New Zealand knows clearer than ever the immediacy of the climate crisis. We simply cannot rest. Far from it: despite huge progress, we are still nowhere near where we need to be.

A slew of opportunistic right-wing voices is lining up to use recent disasters to argue that the government should shift its efforts away from cutting emissions towards adaptation. This is as unscientific as it is dangerous. It is also utterly out of touch with the needs of the people they purport to represent. It is a disingenuous, harmful and bad faith argument that distracts from the conversations we need to be having.

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Yes, Cop26 could have gone further – but it still brought us closer to a 1.5C world | James Shaw

The window to achieve that goal is vanishingly small, but it is there. Now we must seize this one last chance

Like many others, I would like to have seen a stronger outcome from Cop26. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that much was achieved – and the final outcome does get us much closer to where we need to be than where we were a few weeks ago.

For the first time countries agreed to take action on fossil fuels. Yes, it could have gone further – but let’s not forget that never before has there been a single word uttered on fossil fuels in any Cop agreement. So the agreed text is significant.

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The Covid-19 crisis creates a chance to reset economies on a sustainable footing | James Shaw

New Zealand climate minister says governments must not just return to the way things were, and instead plot a new course to ease climate change

James Shaw, New Zealand’s climate change minister, has asked the country’s independent climate change commission to check whether its emissions targets under the Paris agreement are enough to limit global heating to 1.5C. He explains why he’s prioritising the issue during a strict national lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19, which could send New Zealand’s unemployment rate soaring.

To say that we find ourselves in an unprecedented moment is so obvious and has been so often repeated it’s almost become white noise. What is less obvious, however, is where we go from here.

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