Kerre McIvor: Is a climate emergency declaration a lot of hot air?

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Wed, 2 Dec 2020, 3:00PM
(Photo / 123RF)
(Photo / 123RF)

Kerre McIvor: Is a climate emergency declaration a lot of hot air?

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Wed, 2 Dec 2020, 3:00PM

What on earth does declaring a climate emergency actually mean? 

Is it any more than hot air - which as we all know is damaging for the environment?  In the past that's all it has been. 

Jamie Morton from the NZ Herald has written an excellent piece on this - he points out that, as of this year, 28 countries have declared a climate emergency along with 1400 local governments. 

Nelson City Council declared an emergency in May last year, followed by Wellington and Auckland councils a month later.  But declarations don't actually mean anything - it doesn't commit a body to any binding set of actions, there's no expectation of any specific plan. 

A declaration also means that there are no inherent statutory or legal implications - but will that stop insurance companies and the like from hiking up premiums around, for example, sea front properties?

Tim Grafton, CEO of the Insurance Council,  told Mike Hosking this morning that a combination of rising sea levels, which the insurers and the banks believe is inevitable, combined with the lack of decent drainage systems mean that ultimately coastal properties are going to become too risky for financial institutions to want a far of.

So ultimately, it doesn't really matter whether you believe declaring a climate emergency is virtue signalling or not or whether it’s a whole lot of nonsense. 

The insurance companies and the banks are looking at these reports and they're taking them seriously and the decisions they make based on climate science reports will impact large numbers of us. 

We can debate ad\nauseum the benefits or otherwise of electric cars - but change is coming. 

The government might be dithering on an actual climate emergency plan - but the private sectors charging ahead and makings its own decisions accordingly - and that's what's going to affect us.