First Important Step towards the Zero Carbon Act

  • Hon James Shaw
Climate Change

The Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, is pleased to announce today the Government’s first important step towards creating a Zero Carbon Act. 

“Today the Government is making the first important move to deliver on our commitments to be a world leader on climate change,” says James Shaw. 

“Cabinet has agreed to a process of consultation in 2018, before the Zero Carbon Bill is introduced.  

The Bill will be a cornerstone of New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions, climate resilient future. 

“I’m looking forward to engaging in conversations with New Zealanders next year as together we design the framework for New Zealand to transition to a sustainable economy. 

“Taking action on climate change is about working together to ensure a stable climate for future generations, and creates huge opportunities for new jobs in clean industries, better transport, and cleaner air and water.

 “This is a big task and the transition will take decades. Climate change challenges us to make fundamental changes to our economy and we have a moral responsibility to do that in a way that brings people and communities along with us.

“Everyone will have an opportunity to have their say as we develop the plan for a just transition to a sustainable economy.

“The legislation will see New Zealand put a bold new climate change target into law and establish an independent Climate Change Commission,” says Mr Shaw.

“Putting our new climate change target into law will hold the Government to account and place New Zealand in a small group of countries who aspire to net-zero emissions in the next few decades.

“A Zero Carbon Act provides the certainty businesses need to make long-term investment decisions, and it will drive the growth and innovation we need.

“The nature of the challenges we face with climate change are long-term and that means we need an independent commission which can take a long-term non-partisan view, provide independent advice to the government of the day, and ensure New Zealand stays on track to meet its climate change goals.

“From May next year, we’ll have a conversation with all New Zealanders about the potential target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“We’ll talk about how we get there and the role of the independent Climate Change Commission.

“We’ll gather robust evidence and modelling on the economic implications of the target, and work closely with communities; including Māori, business and other sectors of the economy as we draft a Zero Carbon Bill,” says Mr Shaw.

“I intend to introduce the Zero Carbon Bill into Parliament by the end of October next year.

“But it’s important that we don’t lose momentum, which is why the Government is establishing an Interim Climate Change Committee from early next year to do the ground work in some priority areas while we set up the Commission.

“The interim committee could start by looking at agriculture, which contributes almost half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, and how we can transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity.

“I expect that the Climate Change Commission will pick up the interim committee’s work in those areas as it puts together a wide range of recommendations,” Mr Shaw says.

A board of public sector chief executives, focused on climate change, will also be established early next year.