23 Jul 2019

Youth MPs send climate change hurry-up to MPs

From The House , 4:42 pm on 23 July 2019

Youth Parliament's MPs have laid down another climate challenge to their real counterparts.

An open letter to Parliament was tabled by Green MP Chloe Swarbrick today. The letter, signed by 79 Youth Parliamentarians, called for the House to declare a climate emergency. 

In May, Swarbrick attempted to obtain unanimous leave for a vote to pass a motion to declare a climate change emergency. The UK, France, Canada and Ireland have declared climate emergencies, with many cities and provinces around the world also taking a stand. 

The letter follows last week's Climate Emergency declaration during Youth Parliament 2019, called by Luke Wijohn, Youth MP for Chloe Swarbrick.

The letter states the need for “Urgent Action on Climate Change” and that Youth Parliamentarians from across the House agree that there is not enough being done to combat climate change. 

The Youth MPs who signed the letter urge the House to formally acknowledge the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, which projects global temperatures to rise above 2 degrees “if we do not act now.” 

The letter encourages cross-party work on the issue, consultation with affected communities and “meaningful acknowledgement” of the youth voice on this issue, as it directly affects their future. 

Molly Doyle (front right) is the Youth MP for Green Party co-leader and Minister of Climate Change James Shaw. Doyle is surrounded by the other Youth MPs representing the Green Party including Luke Wijohn (far right back).

The Youth MPs representing the Green Party, including Luke Wijohn (far right back). Photo: Green Party / Zoe Robinson

It was signed by Youth MPs from The Labour Party, National, The Greens, New Zealand First and The Act Party. With only 49 out of 120 Youth MPs not signing. 

Leighton Thompson, Youth MP for Gareth Hughes told RNZ “We hope to reach MPs, showing them that their individual Youth MPs, that they choose to represent themselves, don’t think they are doing enough about climate change.” 

Thompson said a Climate Emergency Declaration was “critical” for a number of reasons,

“It shows the understanding of the situation we are in. It gives even more reason for the house to pass urgent legislation and it speaks to the public who don’t feel that the house is doing enough.” 

The House proper has not yet voted on whether to declare an emergency but the Prime Minister has indicated she supports such a move.

*Kate Aschoff is a member of the Youth Press Gallery which takes the role of independent media reporting on Youth MPs and Youth Parliament 2019. This article was produced specifically for The House.