Climate campaign is taking off online

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 15/07/2014

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The excuse that New Zealand is too small to make an impact on climate change does not wash with Michael Gemmell.

The Massey University PhD student, whose research is in studying ecology and biology, is one of more than 20,000 New Zealanders who have signed up to climatevoter.org.nz.

Rather than supporting particular political parties, people who sign up to Climate Voter are trying to stress the importance of climate change issues to all parties ahead of this year's election.

The campaign is being run by a cohort of organisations including Forest & Bird, Generation Zero, Greenpeace and Oxfam.

More than 5000 people signed up to Climate Voter within 11 hours of its launch three weeks ago. At the weekend that number passed 20,000.

Gemmell signed up early in the campaign after reading about Climate Voter. "I'd like to see parties address [climate change] seriously rather than in some cases dismissing it by saying ‘what can New Zealand do?'," he said.

"You've got to start somewhere and do something, lead the way if you have to."

He was aware of the arguments about the potential economic cost of tackling climate change but said the social cost of not doing anything also had to be considered.

If the sea level rises predicted over the next century came true, communities around the world would be affected."Personally, I don't imagine I'll be too heavily affected myself but there are a lot of people in the world who can't move away from lowland areas."

He was still looking into what each political party was offering on September 20, though the Green Party's proposed carbon tax seemed a good idea.

"I need to learn more about it, but a carbon tax seems reasonable to me."

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- Manawatu Standard

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