“Young people care about a lot of things like health, their livelihood, the national economy. These are the very things climate change will impact upon.
“Very few people understand the enormity of the problem,” he says. James and fellow Victoria University graduate Lisa McLaren, who will lead an eight-person New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, are two people who do understand the magnitude of climate change, and the urgent need to do something about it.
An independent organisation that represents and promotes issues facing young New Zealanders, NZYD’s message in Paris will be as much for the New Zealand Government as the leaders of other nations.
The delegates will be advocating for a commitment to effective climate change action—for undertaking solutions that are both pragmatic and equitable.
Lisa says many countries, especially in the Pacific, are already experiencing the effects of climate change. “The world needs countries like New Zealand to show ambition and leadership. The cost of further delaying climate change action is too great, financially, environmentally and socially.”
But James and Lisa believe their own Government’s policy is falling short.
“We feel the New Zealand Government’s emission targets are disappointing and don’t meet international expectations,” James says.
Throughout the conference, NZYD will be paying close attention to discussions and keeping their supporters, allied organisations and media in New Zealand up to date with action on the ground in Paris.