By VIRGINIA WINDER
THE man in charge of weather in New Zealand is switching off for the greater good.
Climate Change Minister David Parker, whose title instantly conjures images of a weather wizard from a Harry Potter novel, is doing his bit to stop global warming.
“In the flat I’m in I make sure I turn off the heated towel rail when I’m not there,” the list MP says, of his Wellington digs.
“I buy energy efficient light bulbs, unless it’s one (light fitting) that doesn’t take one.”
Talking to reporters at a climate change conference in the capital, Parker goes way beyond his own bathroom.
“There’s no doubt that climate change is happening,” he says.
The impact of melting polar caps and rising sea levels hit home when he attended an international conference on the heated subject earlier this year.
For two days, talking heads from around the globe talked about storms, escalating temperatures and the alarming increase of C02, which acts like a thermal drape preventing heat from the sun leaving Earth’s atmosphere.
While the topic was tossed about like a softball, a leader from Bangladesh sat patiently listening to the exchanges.
Parker says the man finally made his pitch. “He said ‘if the sea was to rise by one metre, we would have to move 30 million people’.”
That one comment stunned the father of three, who goes on to talk about the home-blown effects. “For New Zealand the results are less extreme but nevertheless serious. It will be wetter in the west and drier in the east.”
Parker also says there will be more storms and describes why in domestic terms: “It’s just like boiling a kettle – as it heats up it lets off more steam.”
Just like the sceptics, who Parker fobs off with facts and figures. “The scientists are more than 90% sure they are right.”
And with a warning: “The world only has a decade or two to get their emissions under control. The governments of the world are united on this subject.”
Apart from, he says earlier, the United States, Kazakhstan, and Australia, who are not among the 163 countries who have signed the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming.
Sunday, 26 August 2007
By VIRGINIA WINDER