Strong support for zero carbon
More than 15,000 individuals and organisations have had their say on the Government’s proposed Zero Carbon Bill, and according to a Ministry for the Environment summary of submission themes, the great majority want to see it enacted sooner rather than later.
Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson said the information the ministry received was being taken into account as it developed policy advice for ministers about how New Zealand should respond to climate change.
“A range of views were expressed, from every part of society, and these are all being carefully considered by ministers as part of putting together the proposed law and the most appropriate target,” Ms Robertson said.
“Ministers are also considering recent reports on the transition to a low emissions economy from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Productivity Commission, along with economic modelling, the latest science and other relevant reports.
“Setting a new target in legislation as part of the Zero Carbon Bill will give us certainty about our long-term goals out to 2050, no matter what government is in power. From the responses, it’s clear that New Zealanders understand that this proposed bill is critical to New Zealand’s future,” Ms Robertson said.
Ninety-one per cent of submitters said they wanted a target of nett zero emissions across all greenhouse gases by 2050 set in legislation now; 96 per cent supported the establishment of a Climate Change Commission, with an advisory role to the government; and 92 per cent thought the bill should include provisions to help New Zealand adapt to the effects of climate change.
“Throughout the submissions and public meetings, we also heard that New Zealanders want certainty about how we will respond to climate change as a country. This enables business and government to invest and make effective decisions about how the transition to a low emissions economy will occur,” Ms Robertson added.
“Many submitters also supported the concept of a ‘just transition’ that’s fair and inclusive, and that governments, current and future, must support those most affected by change.”
Submissions had been received from businesses, churches, iwi, other Ma¯ori groups and organisations, community organisations and young people. The majority were written, but some took the form of videos, art and poems.
As well as public meetings, the consultation process had included working with iwi and other Ma¯ori groups, technical workshops with agriculture and industry and events to engage young people.
“The voices of young New Zealanders were particularly strong; they will be living through the impacts of our decisions by 2050,” Ms Robertson said.
“It’s important for people to know that the conversation on the path to a low emissions economy continues. People will have a chance to put forward their views on that as part of the Select Committee process early next year, after the Zero Carbon Bill is introduced in Parliament.”
The submissions, and a summary of them, can be found at www.mfe.govt.nz/ have-your-say-zero-carbon.