Press Release, 8 September 2017
Youth climate change campaigners Generation Zero have welcomed the Labour Party’s climate policy, which contains the key elements of the group’s proposed Zero Carbon Act.
Labour’s policy includes a target of net zero emissions by 2050, a legally binding pathway established through carbon budgets, and an independent Climate Commission to advise on the transition and hold governments accountable.
Lisa McLaren, national convenor for the Zero Carbon Act campaign, congratulated Labour and emphasised the importance of cross-party agreement on the legal framework and long-term goal.
“Passing the Zero Carbon Act is the single most important thing the next Parliament can do to create a better future for young people,” said Miss McLaren.
“Overseas experience shows that cross-party support is vital to the success of a climate law like this. Our ask is to the next Parliament - regardless of who is in charge - to come together and pass the Zero Carbon Act.”
“Climate change doesn’t care about political leanings. To create the thriving future we know is possible, we need everyone committed to this journey.”
“The Zero Carbon Act will commit New Zealand to a zero carbon future and ensure we have a plan that lasts beyond election cycles.”
Labour’s policy announcement does not contain any mention of adapting to the impacts of climate change. The Zero Carbon Act would require governments to produce a National Climate Risk Assessment and Adaptation Programme every five years, plus annual reports on what New Zealand is doing to support other countries, including Pacific nations.
Generation Zero’s proposal also adopts a “two baskets” approach to greenhouse gas targets and planning. Long-lived greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, need to go to net zero emissions. Methane, a short-lived greenhouse gas, would be treated separately.
The Zero Carbon Act has support from environmental groups such as Forest & Bird and WWF-New Zealand, 14 leading New Zealand aid agencies including Oxfam NZ, businesses such as Z Energy, and youth political parties including the Young Nats, Young Labour, Young Greens and Young Māori Party.
"It's clear that this an idea whose time has come, and we look forward to more parties confirming their support."