Minister Shaw has just put out his discussion paper for the Carbon Zero legislation.
Sometimes you never know what difference your voice is going to make. I know from working in both central and local government that since the late 1990s, public submissions really do shift the tenor of policies and budget directions. Here it is.
The Ministry for the Environment wants our views on a net zero target for New Zealand. This could mean one of at least three options:
One of these is what the bill will aim for, and the bill will also set out the instruments to regulate and enforce it. It will also set out the role of the Climate Commission. Particularly whether it will have the power to set its own targets or whether it will be directly answerable to government.
The politics of farming will loom large in this, as will the politics of transport in light of the new taxes coming into Auckland. Buckle in people.
There’s a good stab here at a long-awaiting strategy on climate change for New Zealand from the Productivity Commission.
This approach is a whole bunch more rational and explicit than this governments’ approach to oil exploration, electric cars, autonomous vehicles, electricity generation, fuel taxes, or any other of the myriad subsets of stuff that we need that currently has some reliance on carbon. Then there’s the farmers. Sigh. This is finally a part of the government asking us to direct how they think about climate change, and how we will act together, in law.
There have been useful thoughts recently about what our energy production strategy could look like. This however was met with deathly silence from government, energy retailers, energy regulators, and anyone else who might have had a stake in it.
As a gentle reminder, our previous energy strategy looked like this.
We are not going to change the world, since we are already so far behind the climate change leaders in so many areas. But we can start. We can prepare. To misquote Tennyson, we are who we are.
We know we are not ready for climate change.
But as citizens we can form rational thoughts towards an actual law that will govern it.
Minister Shaw is seeking the hardest of things; a compact that will bind all parties in Parliament together for the long term. He needs our support. I mean really needs it. From us all.
It’s worth doing, and this Labour-Green-New Zealand First government is going to do it.
So if you have useful thoughts to put to paper, now is the time not to have defeatist or pessimistic thoughts. Now is the time to put pen to paper and get your thoughts straight to the Minister and help shape this legislation before the first draft hits Parliament.