Consultation before drafting Zero Carbon Act

A Zero Carbon Act commitment to “pass binding climate change legislation in the first 100 days in Government” as”the single most important thing we can do” is being slowed down by taking it to public consultation for about a year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced there will be consultation before drafting a Zero Carbon Act, despite Labour having this goal in their Taking action in our first 100 days plan.

  • Set the zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate Commission

This is from the Labour-Green Confidence & Supply Agreement:

Sustainable Economy

Adopt and make progress towards the goal of a Net Zero Emissions Economy by 2050,
with a particular focus on policy development and initiatives in transport and urban form,
energy and primary industries in accordance with milestones to be set by an independent
Climate Commission and with a focus on establishing Just Transitions for exposed regions
and industries.

a. Introduce a Zero Carbon Act and establish an independent Climate Commission
b. All new legislation will have a climate impact assessment analysis.
c. A comprehensive set of environmental, social and economic sustainability
indicators will be developed.
d. A new cross-agency climate change board of public sector CEOs will be

But this will go to public consultation before the Zero Carbon Bill will be introduced in October 2018 – and that will also include normal consultation as a part of the Bill process.

Consultation is a good thing, but I would have thought that the Greens in particular and also Labour would have been doing some consultation before putting such a high priority on Zero Carbon goals.

Stuff: Government to consult before drafting ‘Zero Carbon Act’ to reduce emissions

The Government will go to the nation to consult on what targets should form the basis of a Zero Carbon Act.

It means legislation will not be introduced this year, as the Government looks to consult over next year before it’s drafted. An “interim” Climate Change commission will be set up, to begin setting New Zealand on a course to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the first step toward establishing New Zealand as a carbon-neutral nation alongside Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

Cabinet agreed to a process of consultation in 2018, before the Zero Carbon Bill was introduced in October.

Ardern said consultation would begin from May next year. It was in the Government’s “100-day plan” to set the carbon zero goal, and Ardern said it had been achieved with the “bare bones” announcement, but a lot of work still needed to be carried out.

So Labour and the Greens made major commitments and promises on Zero Carbon goals but now say a lot of work still needed to be carried out.

I presume this slow down is Labour’s doing, given what the greens committed to in the election campaign:

Greens commit to Zero Carbon Act in first 100 days

The Green Party announced today it will seek to pass binding climate change legislation in the first 100 days in Government. Green Party leader James Shaw made the commitment to a Zero Carbon Act on Newshub’s The Nation debate this morning.

“If we are to treat climate change like our generation’s nuclear free moment, we need to back that up in law”, said Green Party leader James Shaw.

“Successive governments have allowed New Zealand’s climate pollution to keep growing. Only the Greens have a plan to turn that around.

“A Zero Carbon Act will provide an anchor for government action on climate change and drive decisions across the economy to make sure New Zealand is doing its fair share to keep global warming under 2 degrees.

“The Act will mean that climate targets are legally binding, and the Government will be obliged to have a detailed plan about exactly how it will meet those targets, detail that has been desperately missing under National.

“This is what real action on climate change looks like.

“Reducing pollution will mean investing to create a better New Zealand. It means investing in fast, electric and clean light rail in our cities, in warm insulated, energy efficient housing, in solar energy and cheaper electricity.

“This is the single most important thing we can do to ensure that we are protecting the health of our climate, and of our country, for future generations,” said Mr Shaw.

From “the single most important thing we can do” and “seek to pass binding climate change legislation in the first 100 days in Government” to consultation and a delay of about a year.

The single most important thing the Greens seem to have learned is that being a small party in Government can involve major compromises.

However this should come as no surprise as the change in urgency was signalled by Shaw last month.

Newshub: Zero Carbon Act to give businesses ‘a pathway’ to investment 

Mr Shaw, who has taken up the role of Climate Change Minister in the new Government, is set to announce the finer details of the Zero Carbon Act in the next few months.

He told The AM Show the targets will be unveiled in the new Government’s first 100 days, and enshrined in law at some point in 2018.

“We’re very keen [to get environmental targets into law], and in fact all three parties of this Government have the idea that there will be a binding target to become carbon-neutral by the year 2050,” he said.

“The actual legislation will come through next year. We want to do a good job of it, so we need to make sure we consult widely and so on, but we are going to introduce the target in our first 100 days.”

What if consultation shows that the target they set in their first 100 days is unrealistic?

UPDATE: Russel Norman us speaking of the urgency in taking action on RNZ right now.