Zero Carbon Bill welcome news for Hawke’s Bay
The release of the Zero Carbon Bill is welcome news, particularly in Hawke’s Bay where the effects of coastal erosion and weather events due to climate change are already being felt, says Hawke’s Bay sustainability expert and Chief Executive of 3R Group, Adele Rose.
The Climate Change Response Amendment (Zero Carbon) Bill is a landmark piece of legislation for New Zealand and is long overdue, Adele says. “Tackling climate change is something which requires collective action, with central government legislation being vital.”
If passed, the bill will set greenhouse gas emissions targets into law, with a target of net zero long-lived emission by 2050. “For regions like Hawke’s Bay, action on climate change is critical. Our coast is especially prone to erosion, with evidence of this destruction already visible in seaside communities such as Haumoana and Clifton.
“The region is also heavily reliant on horticulture and agriculture, which is also highly susceptible to the effects of climate change,” Adele says.
3R, which is carboNZeroCertTM certified, is the only Hawke’s Bay-based signatory of the Climate Leaders Coalition (CLC), an initiative launched in July 2018 to galvanise New Zealand business into collective action on climate change. Signatories include some of the country’s largest and smallest companies, and collectively represent around half the total emissions in the country.
3R will be holding a regional carbon event as part of its commitment to the CLC later in the year.
“Many of the networking events and workshops for businesses are held in the larger centres for obvious reasons, however we are keen to help local businesses connect and work together on this critical issue right here in the Bay,” Adele says.
In its submission on the bill during the public consultation process, 3R supported a net zero target for all emissions, including biological methane. Adele says while she disagrees with the decision to soften targets for biological methane, she understands the need for compromise.
Agriculture contributes nearly half of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand, with biological methane making up around 35 percent. While methane is some 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, it is far shorter lived in the atmosphere with a life of around 10 years.
The bill will require future governments to reduce biological methane by at least 10 percent by 2030 and between 24 and 47 percent by 2050.
The bill will also see the establishment of an independent Climate Change Commission, in 2024, to advise the Government on five-yearly emission reduction targets. A commission was also something soundly endorsed by 3R in its submission.
Adele says she hopes to see cross-party support for the bill soon. “Given the threat posed by climate change and the need to act quickly, I would expect to see bipartisan support. This piece of legislation is vital, not only to New Zealand’s net zero emissions journey, but most importantly as an example to the rest of the world that action is needed now to effect global change,” she says.