Landmark climate change bill revealed in parliament

By Jessica Tyson

In a bid to address the long-term challenges of climate change the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill has been introduced to parliament this morning.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the bill sets a target of 10 percent reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030, and aims for a provisional reduction ranging from 24 percent to 47 percent by 2050.

It comes after tens of thousands of New Zealand school students went on strike in March to protest the lack of decisive action on climate change, says Minister for Climate Change James Shaw.

“We hear them. The Zero Carbon Bill outlines our plan to safeguard the future that those school students will inherit."

He says the goal 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.”

Carbon dioxide is the most important issue to tackle which is why the bill has taken a net zero carbon approach, says Shaw.

"Agriculture is incredibly important to New Zealand, but it also needs to 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."

Shaw says the independent Climate Change Commission established by the bill will support emissions reduction targets through advice, guidance, and regular five-yearly emissions budgets.

The minister is also urging New Zealanders to engage with the bill as it passes through parliament by having their say in the select committee process.

"All of us have a part to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global temperature increases," he says.

"That includes New Zealanders making their contribution to see the Zero Carbon Bill become law by the end of this year."