My submissions on the Zero Carbon bill
I presented today on the Government’s Zero Carbon bill to the Parliamentary Select Committee. This is what I said …
I am the chair of Waitakere Ranges Local Board and I am proud to represent the most beautiful part of Auckland. I was previously a Waitakere City Councillor. For 4 years I was a director of Land Transport NZ
I have taken a keen interest in climate change for all of that time from a local government and central government perspective.
The overwhelming feeling I have from that period is that the world and New Zealand has drifted at a time when concerted action to address climate change was required.
It took focussed action by Pacific Island nations a couple of years ago to steel resolve for us and for others.
We are now in a crisis. Unless there is dramatic action taken then our fragile world is going to be damaged perhaps irreparably.
The local board has taken an active interest in the issue.
Climate change and sustainability are central considerations in our local board plan.
We recently declared by a majority a climate emergency for the local board area and urged Auckland Council to do the same.
I am pleased they did so unanimously.
I do not sense the need to address how important it is that we keep total global temperature increases to less than 1.5 degrees or how if we breach 2 degrees how we are in unchartered territories.
All I can say is that the Arctic is on fire and Greenland’s ice sheets are melting. This is what has been predicted will be some of the effects of climate change. And it is happening now.
By majority the board was generally fully support the aims and intention of the bill.
In relation to the proposal for a Climate Change Commission I supported Auckland Council’s requirement that commission members have extensive understanding of climate mitigation and adaption.
In relation to the proposed targets we support the non methane target. I am pleased the figure is so stark. It will focus all of our minds on what is required.
In relation to the methane I target support Auckland Council’s enhanced interim target. Methane because it is relatively short lived means that short term reductions in methane levels can give us headroom in addressing CO2 levels should that extra headroom be required.
We also support local carbon offsets. Extensive reforestation could make a significant difference. The Government’s billion tree project and the Mayor’s million tree project are examples of what can be achieved when politicians put their mind to it.
Our preference is for indigenous trees to be planted.
There are some suggestions that the targets should be legally enforceable. My 35 years as a lawyer suggests that this would pose all sorts of issues in terms of enforcement.
We support the creation of emission budgets. Society is exquisitely able to measure the fiscal performance of the country. We should be able to similarly measure the state of our environment and remind ourselves regularly what state it is in.
In relation to adaption we support amendment of the Resource Management Act and Building Act to include consideration of climate change. We agree that It is essential that climate change mitigation and adaptation are reflected and embedded throughout all acts consistently and not overlooked.