New Zealand passes bipartisan climate change bill

New Zealand passes bipartisan climate change bill

The New Zealand parliament has passed legislation that aims to achieve zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

The New Zealand bill legalises an earlier proposal made by the Clarke Labour Government and commits to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The bill was passed with bipartisan support, although the Nationals opposition has said it will amend the law if they win government.

The bill sets a trajectory for reducing emissions and introduces an independent Climate Change Commission to advise advice to the New Zealand government on reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change, as well as determining emissions budgets.

The Ardern government has also established a $100 million NZD Green Investment Fund, which will invest public funds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, serving a similar role to that of the Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the passage of the bill sent the message that New Zealand took the threats of climate change seriously.

“We have committed ourselves to a 1.5°C target that we are embedding in legislation…because that is what is required if we are to show our Pacific neighbours that we understand what the impacts above 1.5°C will have on them — it is real,” Mrs Ardern said.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, passed with near-consensus, with the ACT New Zealand Party’s David Seymour voting against the bill. Mr Seymour was also the sole parliamentarian to oppose changes to New Zealand’s gun laws last March.

The 2019 NSW/ACT Synod meeting agreed to a proposal to keep global warming below 1.5°C. The Synod’s new Climate Action Strategy Task Group will oversee development, implementation, and monitoring of the church’s climate change strategy for a period of three years.

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

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