By Todd Muller
This week I have returned from Bonn in Germany, where I attended the COP23
Climate Change conference as part of the New Zealand delegation. This was the first time I had attended anything quite like this, and I was struck by the sheer size of the event.
Over 25,000 participants, politicians, corporations and NGO's were tasked with navigating the challenge of moving to a less carbon intensive global system, underpinned by the complexity of aligning the political responses of 190 individual countries.
This is the real test of climate change. How can we genuinely evolve all countries and all economies for the long term benefit of all, rather than evolving the economies of a few at some real risks to those few, while the majority stay stuck in their rhetoric and don't make the necessary changes?
The key question for us is not ‘do we change?' but rather how do we change to a lower carbon intensive country in a manner that enhances families, jobs, communities and regions?
We need to avoid evangelical fervour and rhetoric. Now is the time for considered, collaborative cross sector and community conversations that see us change at a pace we can cope with, can succeed in and play our proportional part in the global effort.
I suspect the new government's rhetoric will come hard up against community realism and expectation over the coming months – as it already has on the topics of Manus Island, Pike River and immigration.