New Zealand Law Society - Climate Change Response bill introduced

Climate Change Response bill introduced

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Climate Change Minister James Shaw introduced the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill on 8 May 2019.

The aim of the bill is to provide a framework by which New Zealand can develop and implement clear and stable climate change policies that contribute to the global effort under the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse-gas-emission mitigation, adaptation and finance. The long-term goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the increase in global average temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to limit the increase to 1.5°C (Article 1 (a)).

The bill amends the Climate Change Response Act 2002 and will do four key things to achieve its purpose:

  • Establish a new, independent Climate Change Commission (the Commission) to provide expert advice and monitoring to keep successive governments on track.
  • Set a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to reduce gross emissions of biogenic methane (within the range of 24-47 percent below 2017 levels by 2050) and reduce net emissions of all other greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.
  • Establish a series of emissions budgets to act as stepping stones towards the 2050 targets.
  • Establish a range of climate change adaptation measures to make sure New Zealand understands the risks we face, and has a plan to address them.

Clause 4 amends s3 of the principal Act to add the purpose of providing a framework for New Zealand to develop and implement climate change policies.

Clause 5 amends s3A of the principal Act to add actions required by the Minister for Climate Change in order to recognise and respect the Crown’s responsibility to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Clause 8 inserts new Parts 1A to 1C (Climate Change Commission) after s5.

New Part 1A establishes the Climate Change Commission and provides for its membership, purposes, functions, duties and powers.

New part 1B sets the emission reduction target to be achieved by 2050 and provides for the setting and monitoring of emission budgets.

New part 1C provides for the interpretation of national climate change risk assessments, national adaptation plans, progress and reports.

Clause 9 inserts new Schedule 1AA into the principal Act. New Schedule 1AA is set out in Schedule 1 of the Bill and contains transitional, savings, and related provisions.

Part 2 contains Consequential amendments.

The Act comes into force the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

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