Council urged to back zero carbon

Gisborne resident and Generation Zero member Ellie Craft was involved in development of the blueprint

Gisborne resident and Generation Zero member Ellie Craft was involved in development of the blueprint

Zero carbon future: Generation Zero member Ellie Craft, who recently presented to the council arguing for a need to commit to climate change, shows her support for a Zero Carbon Future. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

Gisborne district councillors have been urged to endorse and commit to the Zero Carbon Act, a blueprint developed by the national, youth-led organisation Generation Zero.

Gisborne resident and Generation Zero member Ellie Craft was involved in development of the blueprint, which was presented to a meeting of the council’s environment and planning regulations committee. Councillors were called on to throw their weight behind the initative.

The aim of Zero Carbon Act has been to push for a Zero Carbon Act, which is exactly what has happened since the Generation Zero group launched in early 2016.

The government has signalled that it will introduce a Zero Carbon Bill to the House later this year. Consultation on the bill has already begun.

Zero Carbon Act is a policy framework created to guide New Zealand to a zero carbon future and developed by Generation Zero, which has a vision to see New Zealand becoming zero carbon emitters.

Launched in early 2016, the Zero Carbon Act blueprint quickly attracted many allies such as WWF, Forest & Bird, Oxfam, ActionStation, Z Energy, the Anglican Diocese of Wellington and, crucially, it gained endorsement of the youth sections of all political parties, including National.

Ms Craft said the blueprint is a law framework that will put New Zealand on track to zero carbon by 2050.

'New Zealand still doesn’t have a climate change plan'

“Having a Zero Carbon Act is a big deal because, despite signing the Paris Agreement, New Zealand still doesn’t have a climate change plan.

“Our emissions are continuing to go up.

“We should be actively doing our part to reduce emissions.”

The latest greenhouse gas emissions inventory showed expansion in the dairy industry is one of the big reasons emissions have climbed about 20 percent in just 25 years.

In 2016, the agriculture and energy sectors were the two largest contributors to New Zealand’s gross emissions, at 49.2 per cent and 39.8 per cent respectively.

Methane from dairy cattle and carbon dioxide from road transport contributed the most of the increase.

Generation Zero’s policy, developed alongside expert advisers, is based on the United Kingdom’s successful Climate Change Act and adapted to suit New Zealand’s circumstances.

It would require governments to reduce New Zealand’s emissions year-on-year and plan towards the long-term target of zero net carbon emissions.

In the UK in 2008, 463 of 466 MPs in the House of Commons voted yes to the Climate Change Act.

“We need similar cross-party support in New Zealand to ensure that the government can be held to account for the next 30 years and beyond,” said Ms Craft.

Generation Zero proposes two key changes from the UK Act

Generation Zero proposes two key changes from the UK Act.

First is taking a science-based approach to setting targets.

Generation Zero suggests there should be a “two baskets approach” where the target for short-lived gases (like methane) are treated differently than long-lived gases such as carbon dioxide.

The second is to focus on domestic emission reductions.

Targets must be met by investing in New Zealand’s zero carbon future, rather than purchasing billions of dollars of international carbon credits.

Key elements of the Act include creating legally-binding long-term and short-term targets, a climate change commission, an emission reduction plan and an adaptation plan.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has come out in support of a Zero Carbon Act.

“A Zero Carbon Act provides the certainty businesses need to make long-term investment decisions, and it will drive the growth and innovation we need.

“The nature of the challenges we face with climate change are long-term and that means we need an independent commission which can take a long-term non-partisan view, provide independent advice to the government of the day, and ensure New Zealand stays on track to meet its climate change goals.”

Generation Zero now wants to ensure the Climate Change Bill passes with similar elements to their own thinking.

This includes a clear 2050 target and a pathway of five-year carbon budgets, an independent Climate Commission to guide the transition, and transparent policy plans to meet carbon budgets.

“Our goal as Generation Zero is to encourage New Zealanders to express concern about climate change, a long-term climate plan is needed and the Zero Carbon Act can provide this.”

“The Zero Carbon Act is now bigger than Generation Zero.

“It has become a movement and network of people dedicated to getting New Zealand a climate change plan.”

The Government plans to introduce a Zero Carbon Bill by the end of October. This would be followed by the Select Committee process where submissions for and against the bill are heard, in late 2018 to 2019, with a view to passing a Zero Carbon Act into law in 2019.

Gisborne district councillors have been urged to endorse and commit to the Zero Carbon Act, a blueprint developed by the national, youth-led organisation Generation Zero.

Gisborne resident and Generation Zero member Ellie Craft was involved in development of the blueprint, which was presented to a meeting of the council’s environment and planning regulations committee. Councillors were called on to throw their weight behind the initative.

The aim of Zero Carbon Act has been to push for a Zero Carbon Act, which is exactly what has happened since the Generation Zero group launched in early 2016.

The government has signalled that it will introduce a Zero Carbon Bill to the House later this year. Consultation on the bill has already begun.

Zero Carbon Act is a policy framework created to guide New Zealand to a zero carbon future and developed by Generation Zero, which has a vision to see New Zealand becoming zero carbon emitters.

Launched in early 2016, the Zero Carbon Act blueprint quickly attracted many allies such as WWF, Forest & Bird, Oxfam, ActionStation, Z Energy, the Anglican Diocese of Wellington and, crucially, it gained endorsement of the youth sections of all political parties, including National.

Ms Craft said the blueprint is a law framework that will put New Zealand on track to zero carbon by 2050.

'New Zealand still doesn’t have a climate change plan'

“Having a Zero Carbon Act is a big deal because, despite signing the Paris Agreement, New Zealand still doesn’t have a climate change plan.

“Our emissions are continuing to go up.

“We should be actively doing our part to reduce emissions.”

The latest greenhouse gas emissions inventory showed expansion in the dairy industry is one of the big reasons emissions have climbed about 20 percent in just 25 years.

In 2016, the agriculture and energy sectors were the two largest contributors to New Zealand’s gross emissions, at 49.2 per cent and 39.8 per cent respectively.

Methane from dairy cattle and carbon dioxide from road transport contributed the most of the increase.

Generation Zero’s policy, developed alongside expert advisers, is based on the United Kingdom’s successful Climate Change Act and adapted to suit New Zealand’s circumstances.

It would require governments to reduce New Zealand’s emissions year-on-year and plan towards the long-term target of zero net carbon emissions.

In the UK in 2008, 463 of 466 MPs in the House of Commons voted yes to the Climate Change Act.

“We need similar cross-party support in New Zealand to ensure that the government can be held to account for the next 30 years and beyond,” said Ms Craft.

Generation Zero proposes two key changes from the UK Act

Generation Zero proposes two key changes from the UK Act.

First is taking a science-based approach to setting targets.

Generation Zero suggests there should be a “two baskets approach” where the target for short-lived gases (like methane) are treated differently than long-lived gases such as carbon dioxide.

The second is to focus on domestic emission reductions.

Targets must be met by investing in New Zealand’s zero carbon future, rather than purchasing billions of dollars of international carbon credits.

Key elements of the Act include creating legally-binding long-term and short-term targets, a climate change commission, an emission reduction plan and an adaptation plan.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has come out in support of a Zero Carbon Act.

“A Zero Carbon Act provides the certainty businesses need to make long-term investment decisions, and it will drive the growth and innovation we need.

“The nature of the challenges we face with climate change are long-term and that means we need an independent commission which can take a long-term non-partisan view, provide independent advice to the government of the day, and ensure New Zealand stays on track to meet its climate change goals.”

Generation Zero now wants to ensure the Climate Change Bill passes with similar elements to their own thinking.

This includes a clear 2050 target and a pathway of five-year carbon budgets, an independent Climate Commission to guide the transition, and transparent policy plans to meet carbon budgets.

“Our goal as Generation Zero is to encourage New Zealanders to express concern about climate change, a long-term climate plan is needed and the Zero Carbon Act can provide this.”

“The Zero Carbon Act is now bigger than Generation Zero.

“It has become a movement and network of people dedicated to getting New Zealand a climate change plan.”

The Government plans to introduce a Zero Carbon Bill by the end of October. This would be followed by the Select Committee process where submissions for and against the bill are heard, in late 2018 to 2019, with a view to passing a Zero Carbon Act into law in 2019.

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