Topic: Environment

Māori Archdeacon says US has moral obligation to Paris agreement

By Mānia Clarke
  • Auckland
  • North Island: East Coast

Te Tairāwhiti Anglican Archdeacon Hirini Kaa is condemning the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Accord.

This follows a collective stance by Aotearoa Church leaders and Churches Climate Network against President Trump's decision to pull out of the agreement. 

Archdeacon Hirini Kaa says as a world leader, the US has an obligation to lead the fight in curbing the dangerous effects of climate change.

"The US is a huge emitter of carbon emissions, a huge polluter.  The world can follow their lead and they need to provide moral leadership alongside an economic leadership."

Kaa believes Māori and the Pacific Islands are strongly impacted by climate change.

"We know the case, even in Ngāti Porou.  We have another giant cyclone, these extreme weather events which are a product [of climate change].  We can see the impacts also, the impacts on our jobs, we have the poorest housing, we're vulnerable, we've even got to do it for ourselves as much as for our neighbours."

"Our whanaunga from the Islands, it's a particularly important issue for them. This is about life or death for them. Their survival as people, their survival of their land and of themselves." 

In 2015, 196 countries including New Zealand signed the Paris agreement, which was ratified in May, to adopt green energy sources, cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures.

"It's about relationship with our neighbor and also God gave us this world to protect and nurture to be stewards of, we need to look after it."

The Anglican church is planning a carbon-offset scheme for air travel which will benefit Pacific communities and could be replicated by others.