NZ should expect more droughts - climate change issues minister

Climate Change minister Tim Groser. Photo / AP
Climate Change minister Tim Groser. Photo / AP

New Zealand can expect more droughts as climate change hits home, a government minister said this morning.

Tim Groser said it wasn't clear if the current North Canterbury drought was directly linked to carbon emissions but unless humanity solved the ongoing emissions crisis, such destructive weather events were likely to intensify in the years or decades to come.

"...The science is very clear on this. The prevalence of these droughts will increase," he told the Q&A programme on TV One.

Mr Groser, the climate change issues minister, discussed the UN Climate Change Conference set for Paris later this year.

He did not say what commitment New Zealand would make around cutting greenhouse gases.

European Union leaders have already pledged to cut greenhouse gases at least 40 per cent by 2030.

Mr Groser said New Zealand's commitment to tackling climate change was a "cabinet decision" but he wanted a "respectable contribution" to cutting emissions in years ahead.

"The only thing that's going to fix this is a global response," he told TV One.

Mr Groser said New Zealand supported reforming fossil fuel subsidies, was playing an outsized role in the global response, and was "not lagging behind" other nations in addressing the issue.

The programme said transport and agriculture were responsible for some 70 per cent of New Zealand's carbon emissions. In many other countries, thermal power plants, such as coal and oil-fuelled plants, were responsible for a much larger share of emissions.

Yesterday, climate-change protesters said they were told to stay away from the Mystery Creek Fielday site in Waikato for distributing woodchips to highlight Fonterra's use of coal-fired energy.

Growing concerns about the ecological crisis and climate change have spurred Pope Francis to make an unprecedented call for a revolution in thinking about climate change.

The Pope is expected to send his message later this week.

"In an unprecedented encyclical on the subject of the environment, the pontiff is expected to argue that humanity's exploitation of the planet's resources has crossed the Earth's natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds," the Guardian reported.

"The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world's 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff."

- NZME.

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