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Call for climate commission and carbon budgeting welcomed

Call for climate commission and carbon budgeting welcomed

The Environment and Conservation Organistions of NZ (ECO) today welcomed the carbon emissions reduction report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and her recommendations to establish a Climate Commission and that New Zealand institute carbon budgeting, and urgently adopt a cross-party commitment.

ECO Co-chair, Barry Weeber, says the report added to the consensus on the need for action by New Zealand to meet the commitments in the Paris climate agreement and transition to low carbon economy with a multi-party approach.

The Commissoner’s proposals are based on the UK Climate Change Act and an approach which has already been adopted by nine countries including Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Mr Weeber said it is urgent that New Zealand move to reduce its carbon emissions and develop a clear strategy to transition to a low carbon economy. “A climate commission and climate budgeting could do that.”

Cath Wallace, policy vice chair of ECO said the proposals are similar to the recommendations by GenZero for a Zero Carbon Act and to the Climate Consensus Coalition Aotearoa statement which contains similar recommendations. This statement is supported by many groups and was also released today.

Cath Wallace, an economist, said, “New Zealand emissions have continued to rise by a staggering 68% compared to our 1990 levels. By contrast the Commissioner shows theat the UK has reduced emissions by 38%.

ECO said it was extremely disappointed by the government’s proposals following the Emissions Trading Scheme Review in 2015-16 that were finally released by the Climate Change Minister on Wednesday. The government proposals, on the Ministry for the Environment website, are “in principle only.

“We already lag far behind other countries and yet the ETS Review proposals set out by Ministers have slow timelines, are vague and will not provide investor certainty. They will not remove the rorts and flaws in the emission trading scheme or add agriculture to the ETS.”
Cath Wallace, said it is urgent there was cross-party commitment for action on climate change and to make the Emissions Trading Scheme apply to all emitters including agriculture, and that the price of emissions units be allowed to rise.

She welcomed the proposal to auction permits and to restrict the poorer quality international units. “The costs of inaction are rising rapidly it will hurt the enviornment, the climate and the economy if we don’t take immediate action.

The Parliamentary Commissioner notes “there is no direct link between New Zealand climate policy and reaching the Paris target”. Cath Wallace said this is a polite way of saying the policy needs urgent overhaul.

The Government has yet to integrate climate policy with key decisions on infrastructure or resource use. Infrastructure developments like roading can last generations and become stranded assets.

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