Mixed feelings on climate change direction
by Amy Adams, MP for Selwyn
Climate change is a very significant issue for New Zealand and one where it is essential to try to put politics to one side so that we can give our communities some clarity about our future direction.
For this reason, opposition leader Simon Bridges and National’s spokesperson for climate change Todd Muller have been working with the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, to try and develop a bipartisan approach to this issue.
One of the positive outcomes of this collaboration is the proposed establishment of an independent Climate Change Commission, which will give science-based advice to successive governments on climate change issues and policy. My colleagues and I agree with the proposed form and function of the commission, which will be tasked with preparing emissions budgets every five years to track progress and take into account the latest scientific knowledge.
We are also in agreement with the government’s plans to treat methane differently from carbon dioxide, which endures for much longer in the atmosphere, and this is a position we have strongly argued for.
The government’s bill proposes a target of a 10 per cent reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030, with a provisional reduction of between 24 and 47 per cent by 2050.
However, we have serious reservations about the expected rate of reduction for methane and are not convinced that this is a valid target based on the science, the likely economic impact or with regard to the response of other countries around the globe.
New Zealand has been a global leader in sustainable agricultural production.
For this leadership to be enhanced the sector must continue to embrace change, but we need to ensure that we do not go too far and jeopardise this sector as this would not be the best outcome for New Zealand, or indeed for the planet.