Climate change lens on major Government decisions

Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today.

“Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will be a standard part of Cabinet’s decision-making too,” James Shaw said.

A ‘climate impacts assessment’ will be mandatory for policy and legislative proposals that are designed to reduce emissions, or which are likely to have consequential impacts on greenhouse emissions greater than 250,000 tonnes a year.

“Passing the Zero Carbon Act earlier this year set New Zealand on a path to a zero carbon future – and this is about working together to get there.

“Ensuring Ministers are aware of the implications a decision may have for New Zealand’s future greenhouse gas emissions will be vital to ensuring we all playing our part in meeting the commitments we’ve made.

The Ministry for the Environment has developed a tool that can be used to estimate emissions impacts and its effectiveness will be reviewed in mid-2020.

“Decisions we take now and in the future about everything from the places we live, to how we get around, to public health, to how we relate to one another will be impacted one way or another by climate change. It’s crucial therefore that when we’re making big decisions climate change is at the forefront of our minds.

“I’m delighted that we’ve developed a tool for the whole government to easily assess whether policies we’re considering at Cabinet will increase or reduce the emissions that impact on New Zealanders’ quality of life in decades to come,” James Shaw said.

The new guidance fulfils an important commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Labour and Green Parties, and builds on a Green Party member’s bill which would have required climate change impact statements in all legislation.

By 2020, this government will have done more to help solve climate change than the last 30 years of government combined, including:

  • Passing the Zero Carbon Act
  • Ending new offshore oil and gas exploration permits
  • Funding a new energy research centre in Taranaki
  • Committing to plant 1 billion trees by 2028
  • Agreeing a world-first partnership with farmers to reduce emissions
  • Making cleaner cars more affordable
  • Legislation to reform the Emissions Trading Scheme
  • A Green Investment Fund

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