New Zealand’s passing the Zero-carbon bill into law is a historic moment for New Zealand, a reinforcement of its commitment to climate change while setting an example to the world.
In response to the Zero Carbon Bill being passed into law, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says:
“New Zealand will not be a slow follower, because the country trade on our brand and our name.. on being environmentally responsible. We are here because our world is undeniably warming…we’re no longer having the debate over whether or not that is the case. We are merely debating what it is we do about it, because, undeniably, our sea levels are rising. Undeniably, we are experiencing extreme weather events, increasingly so. Undeniably, the science tells us the impact that there will be on flora and fauna and, yes, also the spread of diseases in areas where we previously haven’t seen them. We know some island nations will have their clean water sources impacted by rising sea levels and saltwater entering into them. On a daily basis, they are already seeing those impacts. Our world is warming..the question for all of us is: what side of history will we choose to sit on, in this moment in time” (“119 of 120 MP’s just voted,” 2019).
James Shaw, Green Party co-leader and minister for climate change says that some things are too big for politics and that is what climate change is. He added that the zero-carbon bill was not conceived by him or his Green Party, but by the Generation Zero, a movement of young people committed to climate action (“119 of 120 MP’s just voted,” 2019).
Among other provisions, the Zero Carbon Act creates the Climate Change Commission, an independent body that will advise governments on how to meet the targets that the Act has set, which is the zero net carbon emissions by 2050, and a reduction of methane emissions between 24 to 47 per cent. It also includes methane reduction of 10% from 2017 to 2030. The goal of net-zero emissions is to keep the temperature within 1.5 C by 2050 (Cooke, 2019).
Click on the link to know more about New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Act.
Climate Change Champion appointed in Nelson City
Nelson City in the South Island of New Zealand created a “climate change champion” when the council declared a climate emergency four months ago and it has appointed Chris Cameron to the role.
Chris Cameron is a UN-accredited expert inventory reviewer on greenhouse gas emissions, and also led Wellington City’s climate change office before undertaking a PhD in climate science, 4 years ago (Jones, 2019).
Jones (2019) wrote that Cameron will start on his new role in December and will help the council ‘embed climate resilience and a low emissions approach.’ The council has earmarked $500 thousand for its climate change initiative, Jones (2019) added.
Nelson is a coastal city facing Tasman Bay. On February 1, 2018, Cyclone Fehi has brought with it strong storm surges that have flooded and damaged roads and infrastructure along the coast, most notably the historic waterfront venues like the 100+-year-old Boathouse, and the Boatshed café (RNZ, 2019).
This has caused a sewerage pump failure at the Beach road, and sewage overflows, and general contamination from stormwater run-off, the ensuing disruption and damages from Cyclone Fehi, combined with the mounting advice from scientists and the United Nations that the city has only ‘a small window for action to avoid the most damaging effects of climate change’ has prompted the city to declare a climate emergency, fearing the worst (“Nelson City Council declares,” 2019).
The damage and disruptions that Nelson City sustained from the storm surges brought by Cyclone Fehi and the gradual erosion of its coasts have pushed the city to take climate actions. This will also help them prepare for more extreme events in the future. This is could be the start of a pattern that other coastal areas or cities in New Zealand could follow especially those who are at risk of sea-level rise and erosion.
Integrating climate change into the city’s infrastructure asset management planning, plus having climate information and data available will help the community strengthen their climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience.
Read more about Nelson’s climate adaptation and mitigation plans by clicking on the button below: