Six Days Left to Sign Climate Petition
Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon Emissions Act) Amendment Bill critique
By Anna Dobson
There are 6 days left to sign the petition Sign Petition: NZ, Declare a Climate Emergency. 6129 people have signed and we need 16,000 people minimum to sign before May 30 2019.
We are asking tangata whenua to Declare a Climate Emergency as Kaitiaki of Aotearoa, so our MPs will Declare a Climate Emergency and make the Climate Change Response Amendment Bill 2019 a coordinated new independent piece of legislation that requires amendments to the CMA, RMA and EEZ-CS Act so that the Agriculture, Energy and Transport Industries of Aotearoa are legally obliged to comply with legislation demanding that they limit their carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions in their existing business activities, and in future activities proposed by permit/consent applicant/applications.
All industrial short lived and long lived greenhouse gas emissions from the Agriculture, Energy and Transport industries will comply with enforceable carbon emission targets, and that those industries emissions targets are accountable to, and audited by, an independent regulatory authority with powers to penalise industries that fail to limit their emissions, and powers to halt trading, fine and prosecute, industries that continue to flout carbon emission targets established in an RMA + CMA + EEZ-CS coordinated independent new zero carbon emission law, rather than the non legally binding Zero Carbon Act 2019 proposed by James Shaw.
The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon Act) Amendment Bill proposed by James Shaw fails to make the industries whom are responsible for, on an industrial scale, emitting most methane and nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide, respectively, Agriculture, Energy and Transport, legally obliged, and legally accountable, to achieving their proposed limited emission targets. There is no independent Greenhouse Emission Target Regulatory Authority charged with enforcing legal compliance and prosecuting, non compliant industries, named in this new Zero Carbon Act 2019.There is no legal requirement in James Shaw’s proposed Act, which makes Agriculture, Energy or Transport obliged to comply with emission targets proposed in The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon Act) Amendment Bill. The lack of legal compulsion in this proposed Act in obliging industrial compliance with limiting and achieving, each industries emission targets is obscenely conspicuous and is a failure of duty of care to tangata whenua, making this proposed Act hopeless. See excerpt below from
Subpart 5—Effect of 2050 target and emissions budgets
5ZJEffect of failure to meet 2050 target
No remedy or relief is available for failure to meet the 2050 target or an emissions budget, and the 2050 target and emissions budgets are not enforceable in a court of law, except as set out in this section.
If the 2050 target or an emissions budget is not met, a court may make a declaration to that effect, together with an award of costs.
If a declaration is made and becomes final after all appeals or rights of appeal expire or are disposed of, the Minister must, as soon as practicable, present to the House of Representatives a document that—
brings the declaration to the attention of the House of Representatives; and
contains advice on the Government’s response to the declaration.
5ZK2050 target and emissions budget
A person or body may, if they think fit, take the 2050 target or an emissions budget into account in the exercise or performance of a public function, power, or duty conferred on that person or body by or under law (subject to other requirements that apply by or under law).
However, a failure by any person or body to take the 2050 target, an emissions budget, or guidance issued undersection 5ZL into account does not invalidate anything done by that person or body.
We endorse the Climate Change Response Group Generation Zero’s submissionhttp://zerocarbonact.nz/assets/Uploads/Generation-Zero-Zero-Carbon-Bill-consultation-submission-July-2018.pdf
Importance of a well-designed, long-term framework Climate change is bigger than politics. We need political parties to work together and look beyond election cycles. To date, New Zealand’s climate change response has been incoherent and inadequate. A long-term legal framework will help to ensure that New Zealand’s transition to a resilient, zero carbon economy occurs by the fairest, and most cost-effective and sustainable pathway possible. Generation Zero agrees with the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Productivity Commission that the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008 provides a useful model for developing a strong legal framework in New Zealand. We also agree that the UK model must be appropriately tailored to suit the New Zealand context. This approach has underpinned the development of our Zero Carbon Act policy blueprint to date.
We submit that a well-designed Zero Carbon Act, based on the UK model, and backed by cross-party support, will promote the following interrelated outcomes: • Accountability: The mandatory duties and legally-binding targets in the Zero Carbon Act, combined with the oversight provided by the Climate Change Commission, will ensure that the Government is held to account politically and legally. Accountability drives action and promotes certainty. It must be a central pillar of New Zealand’s climate change response. • Long-term certainty: The long-term focus of the Zero Carbon Act is valuable for two reasons. The first is to provide communities and businesses with the certainty they need to: • plan ahead; • take up opportunities created by a zero carbon economy; • invest with confidence in low emission options; • take complementary steps to reduce emissions; and • understand what New Zealand’s transition to a zero carbon future will mean for them.
Accountability mechanisms We submit that emission budgets (and other legal duties in the Zero Carbon Act) must be capable of legal enforcement. This will increase certainty for communities and businesses, and promote accountability, which drives action. It is generally understood that the targets and duties in the UK Climate Change Act are legally binding. However, this has not yet been tested in the courts, and the UK Act’s vague drafting means there is considerable uncertainty around what the courts could do.38 We must learn from these oversights. In particular, the Zero Carbon Act should clarify the legal implications of the Government failing to (a) set an appropriate emissions budget; or (b) set policy plans capable of meeting future budgets. We recommend that the Zero Carbon Act is drafted to facilitate judicial review of these matters. This would allow the courts to compel compliance through the usual forms of relief for unlawful government decision-making. The Act should expressly state who has standing to bring a claim, and the parameters these legal duties should be reviewed against.39
An advantage of the long-term nature of the Zero Carbon Act is that these accountability mechanisms can properly focus on addressing problems prospectively. In other words, it is more impactful to rectify, by legal means if necessary, a poorly set budget or an inadequate policy plan well in advance of New Zealand going off-track, as opposed to retrospectively dealing with an emissions budget being exceeded. However, it is also necessary to guard against the latter. We recommend that the Zero Carbon Act contain an internal penalty regime for this purpose. One possible penalty for failing to meet a budget is requiring the Government to invest additional funds (equivalent to the cost of purchasing international carbon credits to remedy the emission overshoot) into domestic mitigation policies and/or infrastructure.
Please sign and share this petition https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_87778/petition-of-phillip-clarke-declare-climate-change-a-national?fbclid=IwAR3GuGf4ehoMr2dbUKxtpMXtrvOniPftd2BUKUgZrsftAU2XlU38dPgtDd8
to Declare a Climate Emergency in Aotearoa, to support Generation Zero’s Zero Carbon Bill Consultation Submission in favour of the current Climate Change Response Amendment Bill.