Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill
Submissions closed on 16 July, 2019
Low Carbon Kāpiti’s submission was prepared by David Yockney and endorsed by the committee. It recommended to Government that:
- there be a clear, strong, single target of at least 47% reduction in biogenic methane by 2050, the figure at the top end of the present bill’s target.
- there be a 2030 interim target of a 50% reduction by 2030 (from 2017 levels) of all greenhouse gases, except biogenic methane
- there be a 2030 target for biogenic methane of 30%, reflecting the importance of cutting agricultural methane both rapidly and deeply.
- section 5ZJ be removed and it be replaced by legally binding mechanisms that enforce targets
- section 5ZK be changed so that government bodies must take targets and budgets into account
- the Bill should set a strict time frame for the government to prepare and publish its policy plans, at least 5 years before the budget period begins 
- the Emissions Trading Scheme must be strengthened to make sure that it makes economic sense for businesses and other organisations to start working towards becoming carbon neutral.
- the 2004 amendment to the Resource Management Act, which prohibits any discussion of climate change when issuing resource consents under that Act, must be repealed. If this clause remains, most actions we need to protect the climate will be illegal.
A Fully Independent Climate Commission
- the Commission report to parliament, not the Minister
- the Commission’s funding be safeguarded, as is done for the courts, to prevent a government from handicapping the Commission by cutting its resources
- the Climate Change Commission be given the final say on emissions budgets. Currently the Climate Change Commission will be able to recommend emissions budgets, and the Minister for Climate Change will have the final say. By strengthening the Climate Change Commission’s powers we can guarantee the emissions budgets will be based solely on the best available science and will be a robust, durable, non-political mechanism for our zero carbon transition
- the government should be responsible for preparing a National Climate Risk Assessment rather than the Climate Commission. The government has the resources to work with councils, to coordinate data across civil management agencies, and to take on the public relations and legal risk of informing citizens (for example, house prices may plummet following a sea level rise assessment, which would involve significant public relations issues)
- there be a requirement that Climate Change Commission members are knowledgeable about the global climate justice aspects of climate destruction.
Protection of Vulnerable Communities
- the Bill strengthens requirements for the government to write emission reduction plans that take into account a just transition for workers, regions, iwi and Māori, and wider communities.
- the government implements plans and mechanisms that will ensure that people who lose their jobs through innovation to a carbon free economy receive the necessary support to enable them to move into new work with a minimum of disruption. This will include financial, training and relocation support, as required.
- the Bill needs to take into account the impact of our climate change response on nature, another vulnerable community. Adaptation plans proposed under this Bill need to acknowledge the role nature plays in making New Zealand more resilient. We know healthy native forests, oceans, and coastlines are essential for soaking up carbon and protecting us from floods and storms. But nature is also at risk from climate destruction. New Zealand can create a virtuous circle to help deal with these challenges: nature will help us become more resilient, but only if we help nature become more resilient. The Zero Carbon Act needs to account for this.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
- the Bill be revised to include clauses that properly honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi
- the Bill establishes permanent Māori representation on the Climate Change Commission. This would enable the Climate Change Commission to establish stronger links with iwi and hapū and give effect to Te Tiriti obligations when managing our climate response.
Restrict forestry offsets
- the Bill be revised to include a gross emissions target in each budget, not just a net emissions target, or there should be a cap on allowable forestry offsets. These measures would limit our reliance on trees, which could be risky.
Prohibit international credits
- the Bill should prohibit the use of international carbon credits, thus ensuring that New Zealand is actively engaged in the reduction of its carbon emissions and to promote long-term certainty and accountability.
Targets should include all sectors
- the Zero Carbon Act include New Zealand’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions.
The full submission can be downloaded here. Thank you to everyone that took the time to make an individual submission.