The Government today is delivering “landmark action” to address the long-term challenge of climate change by introducing the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill to Parliament.
As Stuff portended last week, a deal has been negotiated to set a “split gas” target. This will treat methane differently from other long-lived gases, like carbon.
NZ First and the National party had slowed progress on the contentious legislation over concerns about emissions targets hurting their farming voter base.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a practical consensus across Government has been built, creating a plan for the next 30 years which provides the certainty industries need to get in front of this challenge.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw recalled that tens of thousands of New Zealand school students went on strike in March to protest the lack of decisive action on climate change.
“We hear them. The Zero Carbon Bill outlines our plan to safeguard the future that those school students will inherit.
“The critical thing is to do everything we can over the next 30 years to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius and the Zero Carbon Bill makes that a legally binding objective.
Mr Shaw said carbon dioxide is the most important tissues to be tackled – “that’s why we’ve taken a net zero carbon approach”.
Agriculture was “incredibly important to New Zealand” he said, but it must be part of the solution.
“That is why we have listened to the science and also heard the industry and created a specific target for biogenic methane.
“The split gases approach we’ve agreed on is consistent with that commitment.
“The Bill sets a target for 10 per cent reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030, and aims for a provisional reduction ranging from 24 per cent to 47 per cent by 2050.
“That provisional range will be subject to review by the independent Climate Change Commission in 2024, to take account of changes in scientific knowledge and other developments.”
The independent Climate Change Commission, to be established by the Bill, will support emissions reduction targets through advice, guidance, and regular five-yearly “emissions budgets”.
The Bill also creates a legal obligation on the Government to plan for how it will support New Zealand towns and cities, business, farmers and Iwi to adapt to the increasingly severe storms, floods, fires and droughts we are experiencing as a result of climate change.
New Zealanders had made it clear they want leadership and consensus on climate change legislation, Mr Shaw said.
“We’re delighted that the three Government partners have reached an agreement over such a significant piece of legislation after lengthy consultation.
“I also want to acknowledge National Party leader, Simon Bridges, and National’s Climate Change spokesperson, for conducting negotiations in good faith and setting politics to one side while we’ve worked through the Bill.
“The fact that, across Parliament, all parties have engaged constructively in this process signals mutual interest in creating enduring climate change legislation that will stand the test of time and deliver long-lasting commitment to action on climate change for future generations.”
Mr Shaw urged people to engage with the legislative process, as the Zero Carbon Bill passes through Parliament, and have their say through the select committee which considers the Bill.
Source: Prime Minister’s Office