Māori Archdeacon condemns US withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

updated By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Te Tairāwhiti Anglican Archdeacon Hirini Kaa is condemning the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Accord. This follows a collective stance by New Zealand Church leaders and Churches Climate Network against President Trump's decision.

Archdeacon Hirini Kaa says as a world leader, the US has an obligation to lead the fight in kerbing 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 a 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 had 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 whānaunga 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 NZ signed the Paris Agreement which was ratified in May to adopt green energy sources, cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in global temperatures.

“It's about the relationship with our neighbour 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.