Prince Charles has called for a new economic model in order to save the planet. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he pleaded with world leaders and businesses to revolutionise the interaction between nature and global financial markets,saving the planet from “approaching catastrophe”.
In an unprecedented royal intrusion on government policy, he argues market-based solutions and tax reform are the best options to halt the damaging impacts of climate change.Outlining 10 ways to transform financial markets and reduce global emissions, Prince Charles said nothing short of a revolution was required.
“I’ve come to realise it is not a lack of capital holding us back but rather the way in which we deploy it. Therefore, to move forward we need nothing short of a paradigm shift – one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace.”
He called for companies and countries to outline how they will move to net zero emissions – a signal he is not satisfied with the commitments made under the Paris climate accord. The United Kingdom has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 but Australia and other countries have been reluctant to make similar promises.
Politicians in NZ may believe this country is already ahead of the pack after passing the Zero Carbon Emissions legislation, a clear response to Prince Charles’ call that
” … it is time for businesses, industries and countries alike to design and implement how they will decarbonise and transition to net-zero.”
The Green Party will be hoping its role in this achievement will be recognised by voters later this year.
Yet it need not necessarily command a political monopoly of the climate change issue.
Opportunities beckon other parties in the climate change space. Food security and water scarcity will be big issues in coming decades if global warming gathers pace, rather than declines.
National in particular cannot afford to be on the wrong side of the argument if climate change becomes front and centre in the election campaign. Already a core element of its election base — the farming community — believes it is under the pump in bearing the burden of the Ardern government’s policies.
Simon Bridges, for example, needs to seize the chance to gazump the Greens on climate change by reversing government policy on genetic engineering.
Gene editing solutions could accelerate the reduction of agricultural emissions through the development of new grasses and new animal breeds.
Last year NZ’s top scientific body called for an overhaul of genetic engineering (GE) legislation, after finding an “urgent need” for a fresh look at how the contentious technology could be applied.
In the strongest signal to the government, a high-powered panel convened by Royal Society Te Apārangi concluded the time has come for change. It proposed moving away from a black-and-white view of what is and isn’t genetic modification, toward a more nuanced approach that looks at specific applications, and what benefits and risks they carry.
Since 2003, GE and genetically modified organisms have been tightly controlled by the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act – and there have been growing calls from the biotech sector for change.
NZ needs to be a first mover in applying the advances being achieved in gene editing, particularly if it helps to avert the kind of catastrophe Prince Charles is talking about.
And farmers would lay out the welcome mat to a political party which put practical responses to combating climate change at the forefront of their election policies.
A new policy embracing such measures as gene editing, indoor vertical farming, automation and robotics, livestock technology, modern greenhouse practices, precision agriculture and artificial intelligence would provide a welcome alternative for farmers who believe they are bearing the bulk of the cost of the current government’s climate change measures.