Historic day for climate action

  • Hon James Shaw
Climate Change

New Zealand now has one of the world’s most ambitious frameworks for tackling the climate crisis, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said after the Emissions Trading Reform Bill passed through Parliament this afternoon.

The legislation fixes the Emissions Trading Scheme and turns it into one of the most effective tools New Zealand has for reducing climate-polluting emissions.

“In a single term we have taken more action on climate change than the past 30 years of governments combined. Today we have reached another significant milestone in our plan to reduce New Zealand’s emissions.

“There is a long way to go, but we are starting to bend the curve towards a climate-friendly future in New Zealand. Alongside the Zero Carbon Bill, which was passed unanimously by Parliament last year, this Bill means that we now have the foundations in place for long-term meaningful climate change action in New Zealand,” James Shaw said.

The changes made by the Bill include setting a cap on the total emissions allowed within the ETS. This is something the previous government had failed to do, leaving the scheme too weak to have any real impact on reducing our emissions.

The Bill also includes a range of necessary rule changes that will incentivise New Zealand’s biggest polluters to invest in the transition to a clean, climate-friendly economy.

“Until now, the ETS has not fulfilled its primary purpose, which is to reduce emissions. Taking action to fix this puts us further ahead on climate action than many other parts of the world – and that’s even before you consider the huge progress we have made over the last three years,” James Shaw said.

Over the last three years, this Government has:

  • Set a long-term legal framework for New Zealand to reduce its emissions in line with the global goal of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C above pre‑industrial levels
  • Established the independent Climate Change Commission to guide all future governments with the transition towards a low emissions economy  
  • Adopted the first ever all of government Climate Action Plan
  • Invested billions of dollars in clean transport options like bike lanes, buses, and trains
  • Started replacing coal boilers in schools and hospitals with clean energy alternatives
  • Funded hundreds of new electric vehicle chargers to be built all over Aotearoa
  • Created the Green Investment Fund
  • Started work with the agricultural sector to put a price on farming emissions
  • Ensured that all major government decisions consider their impact on climate
  • Moved toward mandatory reporting of climate risks for major companies
  • Banned default KiwiSaver funds from investing in fossil fuels
  • Banned new offshore oil and gas exploration

“When we came into government we had a choice. Continue down the carbon-intensive path toward climate breakdown, leaving our kids to suffer the consequences, or create something better: an economy that is more equitable, more prosperous, and more innovative – all within planetary limits.

“This Bill, and every action we have taken that preceded it, is a result of that choice – the choice we made to build a better future. Today, that future is closer within reach than it has ever been before,” James Shaw said.