Talk about climate change in ‘plain English’

Talk about climate change in ‘plain English’

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester speaks at the City Gallery. Left to right: Lester, Liz MacPherson, Victor Komarovsky, Paul Ward, Pamela Bell. PHOTO: OLIVER GASKELL

Generation Zero spokesperson Victor Komarovsky says local councils are overcomplicating climate change debate making it harder for the public to engage.

Speaking at the second in a series of events entitled “Our City Tomorrow” at Wellington’s City Gallery, Komarovsky said councils needed to plainly communicate climate change issues to encourage public discussion.

“Our councils are not putting this into plain English so we can talk about it.”

Generation Zero was one of multiple environmental groups who consulted with the Wellington City Council on its ‘First to Zero’ climate action plan, which outlines its path to being carbon neutral by 2050.

Komarovsky said the current language used around climate change undermined its importance and stifled public debate.

“We need to be using strong words which illustrate the importance of climate change.[We need to] act like climate change is an emergency.”

The plan is being reviewed. Councillors today voted to delay a decision until April 4 to allow for further consultation.

Central to the plan are ‘the big six’ – planning for population growth; creating efficient transport infrastructure; green building initiatives; shared mobility options such as car shares; the creation of a Wellington climate lab; and the introduction of a zero-emissions transport fleet.

The organisation was also responsible for working with central government on the Zero Carbon Act, which outlines New Zealand’s transition to a zero carbon economy by 2050 and is set to be passed by the end of the year.

Mayor Justin Lester also stressed the importance of incorporating young voices into climate change policy. “We need to be sure that we reflect the views of the young people in the city,” said Lester.

Later at the event, Lester said young people like Komarovsky needed to take action in order to help develop climate change policy.

“We need people like you to run for office.”

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Article by Oliver Gaskell

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