New Zealand’s Ardern set to declare climate emergency

New Zealand’s Ardern set to declare climate emergency
Ardern returned to power last month delivering the biggest election victory for her center-left Labour Party in half a century. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 November 2020

New Zealand’s Ardern set to declare climate emergency

New Zealand’s Ardern set to declare climate emergency
  • The government will put forward a motion to declare the emergency next Wednesday
  • If a climate emergency is passed, New Zealand would join countries like Canada, France and Britain that have taken the same course

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government is to declare a climate emergency in a symbolic step to increase pressure for action to combat global warming.
The government will put forward a motion to declare the emergency next Wednesday, the government said as parliament reconvened after a general election won by Ardern’s party.
“We’ve always considered climate change to be a huge threat to our region, and it is something we must take immediate action on,” Ardern said, according to state broadcaster TVNZ.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to progress a motion around a climate emergency in parliament in the last term, but now we’re able to.”
Ardern returned to power last month delivering the biggest election victory for her center-left Labour Party in half a century as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to the novel coronavirus.
The resounding win allows Ardern’s party to govern alone although she has joined forces with the Green Party for the next three-year term.
The newly elected members of parliament were sworn in on Tuesday and resumed work on Wednesday in New Zealand’s most diverse parliament ever. It has several people of color, members of rainbow communities and a large number of women.
In her last term, Ardern’s government passed a Zero Carbon Bill, which sets the framework for net zero emissions by 2050, with cross-party support in parliament.
If a climate emergency is passed, New Zealand would join countries like Canada, France and Britain that have taken the same course to focus efforts on tackling climate change.
Last week, Japanese lawmakers declared a climate emergency and committed to a firm timetable for net-zero emissions.


British Asian celebrities produce video to tackle coronavirus myths

 British-Asian celebrities have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine. (AFP/Screenshots/File Photos)
British-Asian celebrities have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine. (AFP/Screenshots/File Photos)
Updated 8 min 35 sec ago

British Asian celebrities produce video to tackle coronavirus myths

 British-Asian celebrities have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine. (AFP/Screenshots/File Photos)
  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and former Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi are also included in the video

LONDON: British-Asian celebrities including cricketer Moeen Ali and comedians Romesh Ranganathan and Meera Syal have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine.

The video was organized by “Citizen Khan” creator Adil Ray, who said that he wanted to tackle falsehoods surrounding vaccinations for those from ethnic minority communities.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and former Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi are also included in the video.

Conspiracy theories and myths about coronavirus vaccines have caused concerns about uptake, particularly in the South Asian community.

“We all just feel we needed to do something,” Ray told the BBC.

He appears in the five-minute video with celebrities like former “Coronation Street” actress Shobna Gulati, who used her space in the clip to say: “We will find our way through this. And we will be united once again with our friends and our families. All we have to do is take the vaccination.”

Comedians Sanjeev Bhaskar, Asim Chaudhry and Ranganathan were on hand to debunk common coronavirus myths.

Ranganathan joked: “There’s no chip or tracker in the vaccine to keep watching where you go. Your mobile phone actually does a much better job of that.”

A recent poll commissioned by the Royal Society of Public Health showed that just 57 percent of black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) would be happy to receive a vaccine, compared with 79 percent of white Britons.

Dr. Harpreet Sood, an NHS doctor heading up an anti-discrimination effort, said fake news and myths were likely behind the worrying numbers for the BAME community.

The UK government has recently started to tackle the problem directly, with UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick arguing that faith leaders were crucial to vaccine uptake. His announcement came as he opened the UK’s first vaccination center in a mosque.

Jonathon Kitson, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, told Arab News: “Mass vaccination is the only way out of the pandemic, and it is great to see people from all backgrounds working to dispel myths, fake news and conspiracy theories like this.”

He added: “The faster the rollout can take place, the sooner we can get back to normal.”

Sam Bowman, co-founder of a new myth-dispelling website called “Anti-Virus: The COVID-19 FAQ,” told Arab News: “It is absolutely vital that everyone realizes that the vaccine is a safe, effective ticket back to normal life. It will mean that people of all ages are safe to see each other again, and go back out to work and their old lives.”

He added: “It’s great to see this video correct the misinformation being promoted — anyone pushing an unscientific anti-vaccine lie needs to be publicly contradicted and exposed as the shysters they are.”