Introducing Generation Zero – Kiwi Youth Stand Up for a Positive Green Future
Kicking the fossil fuel habit and achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions are central to a positive future for young New Zealanders.
Generation Zero was launched today by young New Zealanders intent on reclaiming our future. This new movement seeks to unite young people around a vision of a zero carbon New Zealand, and empower them to stand up for their right to a positive future.
Generation Zero Spokesperson Chelsea Robinson says, “Right now our futures are under threat because of short-sighted decision making. Rather than just growing increasingly worried and angry, we are standing up to make sure that climate change starts getting the attention it deserves.”
Human activities have already caused greenhouse gases to reach unsafe levels in the atmosphere, and we are now seeing predicted effects of climate change, including more extreme weather events. The full impact is still to come, and young people have the most at stake since we will live into the consequences. Unless New Zealand and other nations drive emissions down to zero in a matter of a few decades, we can expect changes that put our future in jeopardy.
New Zealand has no credible emissions reduction plan: only a mechanism to shift most of the costs to a future generation – the Emissions Trading Scheme. According to a recent UN report, the plans currently in place will achieve only one third of the emissions reductions required to meet the Government’s own 2020 target. In purely financial terms, young people stand to be lumbered with an undue share of the carbon debt being racked up due to current inaction.
Generation Zero seeks all political parties and government agencies to raise their ambition to what is required, not what we are told is politically acceptable. That means:
- A plan to achieve zero net emissions in New Zealand before 2050
- A timetable set in legislation to action the plan, with three year milestones
- A plan that emphasises emission reductions but allows the use of permanent, biodiverse afforestation to meet targets
- A plan that ensures today’s carbon bills get paid today.
The ultimate requirement is New Zealand playing its part in a plan to deliver an atmosphere with carbon dioxide reduced to the level NASA’s James Hansen has shown is needed for a safe and stable climate – less than 350 ppm (parts-per-million). That depends on international action, but New Zealand must move to zero net emissions under any positive scenario.
“We are Generation Zero: the generation to oversee the transformation to a zero carbon world,” says Chelsea.
“This isn’t just a name, it’s an identity. It’s our place to step up and make our voices heard on how this plays out, and it’s our time – this election – to ignite change.”