Sunday, May 19, 2024

Have your say on future climate change action

New Zealanders are being encouraged to have their say about how to tackle climate change over the coming decades.

From today, He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission is running an 8-week public consultation to help it develop advice to the Government.

Commission Chair, Dr Rod Carr said that before the Commission finalises the advice, it wants to test its thinking to make sure the eventual recommendations are realistic and robust.

“We’re seeking feedback and input from a wide range of people, businesses, organisations and sectors,” says Dr Carr.

“This is because the decisions that the Government makes will affect all of us. They’ll affect the whenua, our lives and livelihoods, and our global reputation.

“Our role is to provide independent, expert advice to the Government. We’ve begun by pulling together and analysing evidence, and looking at possible options. Now we want your input on this important mahi.”

The results of the consultation will inform the Commission’s upcoming advice to the Government – due by the end of this year – about what are known as emissions budgets and targets.

That advice is intended to inform Government decisions – due by the end of 2025 – that will affect the country’s actions, planning and investment decisions for the next 20-30 years.

The consultation includes three pieces of work:

  • The first piece of work looks at what the emissions budget should be for the period 2036-2040. Emissions budgets are stepping stones towards the country’s long-term emissions reduction target. They set a cap on the maximum amount of climate pollution that Aotearoa New Zealand can emit in a five-year period.

“The first three emissions budgets are already in place,” says Dr Carr.

“We’re now looking to the future to see what the fourth one should be, and if the first three also need updating.

“In our consultation document, we’ve presented what we think is the best path forward. But we want to hear what New Zealanders think about the possible caps, if we’ve taken the right things into account, and if we’ve considered all the ways that people, businesses and the country will be affected.”

  • The second piece of work looks at the country’s 2050 climate target. When the Commission develops advice on the next emissions budget, it also does a sense check of that long-term target, said Dr Carr.

“That’s because the target is our guiding star. It provides an important signal to help everyone plan and prepare for the changes that are needed. So it’s important to check that the target is leading everyone in the right direction, or whether a course-correction is necessary.”

“We’ve looked at all the new evidence that’s become available since the target was set in 2019, and if there have been any significant changes.

“Of the nine factors we’re required to assess, we’ve identified four areas where we think there may have been significant change. So now we want to know what people think of that, and if these developments justify changing the target.”

  • The third piece of work also relates to the 2050 target – but is focused on whether emissions from international shipping and aviation should also be included in it, like emissions from domestic shipping and aviation already are.

“International shipping and aviation play an important role in New Zealanders’ lives and livelihoods – from helping provide the goods and services we buy and sell, to keeping us connected with friends and whānau overseas.”

“As a trading nation, Aotearoa New Zealand is particularly dependent on these sectors. However, emissions from them are significant and are growing, and global consumers are increasingly aware of this and looking for change.

“So we’ve shared our work on this topic to date, and we’re keen to get feedback on it before we give our recommendations to Government,” says Dr Carr.

“We understand that people are at the heart of policy. Your input is vital to help us develop robust and realistic advice that reflects the views and experiences of people of all ages and backgrounds across Aotearoa New Zealand.

“This is an important chance to have your say about where the country should be heading, and what the future could look like for current and future generations – because ultimately, the Government will have to make choices and judgment calls. These will have consequences for New Zealanders’ lives and livelihoods, our nation’s global reputation, and future access to overseas markets.”

To find out more and make a submission, go to haveyoursay.climatecommission.govt.nz Submissions close on 31 May.

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