New Zealand’s passing of the Zero-carbon bill into law is a historic moment for New Zealand, reinforcing its commitment to climate change while setting an example.
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 we do about it because, undeniably, our sea levels are rising. Our world is warming. 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 them. On a daily basis, they already see those impacts. 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, which is what climate change is. He added that the zero-carbon bill was not conceived by him or his Green Party but by 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. This independent body 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 a methane reduction of 10% from 2017 to 2030. Net-zero emissions aim 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 on 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 four years ago (Jones, 2019).
Jones (2019) wrote that Cameron will start his new role in December and 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 brought strong storm surges that 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, 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 could start a pattern that other coastal areas or cities in New Zealand could follow, especially those at risk of sea-level rise and erosion.
Integrating climate change into the city’s infrastructure asset management planning and having available climate information and data 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:
119 of 120 MPs just (2019, November 7). The Spinoff. Retrieved from https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/07-11-2019/119-of-120-mps-just-voted-to-pass-nzs-historic-zero-carbon-bill-into-law-heres-the-best-of-what-they-said/
Cooke, H. (2019, November 7). https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117244331/national-will-support-climate-change-zero-carbon-bill
Jones, K. (2019, October 10). Nelson names ‘champion’ to get Council up to speed on climate action. Stuff. Retrieved from https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/116426907/nelson-names-champion-to-get-council-up-to-speed-on-climate-action
RNZ. (2019, January 31). Nelson’s Boathouse damaged [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtyaBCQNQYg
Nelson City Council declares a Climate Emergency (2019, May 17). Our Nelson. Retrieved from https://our.nelson.govt.nz/media-releases-2/nelson-city-council-declares-a-climate-emergency/
What Council is doing about Climate Change (2019). Nelson City Council. Retrieved from http://www.nelson.govt.nz/environment/climate-change/what-council-is-doing-about-climate-change/