Zero Carbon Bill: Select Committee submitters call for more action

5:41 pm on 1 August 2019

Submitters at today's Environment Select Committee in Parliament have argued the Zero Carbon Bill does not go far enough.

New Zealand parliament; beehive

New Zealand parliament. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

During the last round of submissions, Dairy NZ warned that the upper end of the reduction targets for methane were unattainable.

James Young-Drew.

Generation Zero's submitter James Young-Drew Photo: Supplied

Today, Generation Zero said the current framework in the Zero Carbon Bill did not fully reflect the urgency of the climate change crisis.

The organisation was one of a handful of submitters who presented to the Environment Select Committee this morning.

Generation Zero's James Young-Drew said the bill picked up on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's point that New Zealand needed to hit net zero emissions by 2050, but overlooked the other two key findings of its report.

"One is that our carbon emissions need to peak immediately by 2020, and the other is that the pathway we need to be on involves effectively halving carbon [emissions] by 2030," he said.

Mr Young-Drew said the date when New Zealand hits net zero was not important, the total cumulative emissions emitted between now and then was.

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said given New Zealand's starting point it would be a staggering achievement to meet those other IPCC findings.

"It's highly unlikely, but the thing I keep saying about all of this is nothing is impossible," he said.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw

Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Local Government New Zealand argued the case for referencing adaptation more in the bill, to clarify who holds which roles and responsibilities.

Under the bill, a Climate Change Commission would be formed and they would then work to establish a range of climate change adaptation measures to make sure New Zealand understood the risks it was facing and had a plan to address them.

Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull said the bill made a good start to adapt New Zealand, but considerably more needed to be done with local government as a key partner.

No caption

LGNZ president Dave Cull, who is also mayor of Dunedin Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

He said the risk assessment should be done by a specialist agency instead.

"We are pleased that the bill sets up a framework for completing a national climate change risk assessment, but we're concerned the commission has been tasked with completing that.

"We don't believe the Climate Change Commission will have sufficient capability, capacity or resource to undertake such a complex exercise, along with its many other functions," he said.

In total, more than 15,000 submissions have been made on the Zero Carbon Bill, with oral submissions set to take place over the next few months.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs