Wednesday 10 July 2019
Early Wednesday morning, Generation Zero hosted a Zero Carbon Bill submission party for commuters passing through the Wellington Railway Station. Wearing togs and waving surf lifesaving flags, young climate change advocates reminded Wellingtonians about the threat of sea level rise.
“We need strong climate change action, otherwise Wellingtonians will find themselves swimming to work”, says Monique Bartosh, Generation Zero member, aged 25. “This is the moment for us to make our voices heard on the Zero Carbon Bill and strengthen New Zealand’s climate change law for decades to come”.
“The reality is that, like most coastal cities, Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Kāpiti are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise”, says Elliot Blyth, Generation Zero member, aged 18. “Yet New Zealand continues to emit enormous amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to the climate crisis. We still don’t have a plan to cut our emissions, or a plan to protect New Zealand communities from the impacts of climate change”.
Generation Zero is encouraging all New Zealanders, young and old, to submit on the Zero Carbon Bill before public submissions close 16 July 2019. If enacted into law, the Zero Carbon Bill will put New Zealand on a pathway to zero carbon by setting clear targets, establishing an independent Climate Commission, and requiring the Government to introduce economy-wide emission reduction policies. It will also require the Government to make plans to protect New Zealanders from climate change impacts, such as sea level rise, droughts, and extreme storms.
Generation Zero is hosting submission parties around the country to encourage New Zealanders to submit for a stronger Bill.
Generation Zero developed the Zero Carbon Act framework in 2016 and is calling for all political parties to support the law. Generation Zero believes an effective Zero Carbon Act, backed by cross-party support, is the most urgent and important legislation our Parliament could legislate.
The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before the Environment Select Committee. The Bill is expected to be enacted before the end of 2019. It passed its First Reading by 119 votes in favour to 1 against.
About the Zero Carbon Act
History of the Zero Carbon Act
The Zero Carbon Act framework, developed by Generation Zero in 2016, has been steadily gaining support throughout the last three years. Most major political parties have indicated support for some of the key elements of the act.
The Zero Carbon Act also has support from environmental groups such as Forest & Bird and WWF-New Zealand, 14 leading New Zealand aid agencies including Oxfam NZ, businesses such as Z Energy, and youth political parties including the Young Nats, Young Labour, Young Greens, Young New Zealand First and Young Māori Party.
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright’s final report also recommended the policy framework of the Zero Carbon Act and has received backing from organisations such as Dairy NZ, Westpac, and BNZ.
On 12 October 2017, attendees at the Australia/NZ Climate Change & Business Conference in Auckland, including representatives from the business sector, NGOs, and central and local government, unanimously passed a resolution in support of the concepts outlined in Generation Zero’s Zero Carbon Act proposal.
What is the Zero Carbon Act?
The Zero Carbon Act is a legal framework based on the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008. It requires governments to reduce New Zealand’s emissions year-on-year and plan towards a long-term target: zero net emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases by 2050 or sooner, and significant reductions on biogenic methane, in line with the IPCC’s 1.5°C report.
How does it work?
The Zero Carbon Act will require future governments to set a pathway of five year ‘carbon budgets’ on track to the zero carbon target and produce clear plans to meet these. It will establish an independent Climate Commission to provide expert advice on targets and policies and to monitor the Government’s progress.
Will it do anything else?
The Act will also require the government to prepare a National Climate Risk Assessment and a National Adaptation plan to address these climate risks, which include sea level rise, droughts and extreme weather events.
For more information see: www.zerocarbonact.nz/
About Generation Zero
Generation Zero is a nationwide, volunteer, youth-led organisation formed in 2011 to champion solutions for a zero carbon Aotearoa New Zealand.