The Conversation - A fresh start for climate change mitigation in New Zealand

The election of the sixth Labour-led government heralds a new direction for climate change policy in New Zealand says Professor of Applied Mathematics, Dr Robert McLachlan.

As part of the new government’s 100-day priority plan, it pledged to set a target of carbon neutrality by 2050 and to establish the mechanisms to phase out fossil fuels. In doing so, New Zealand will join a small group of countries that have established this goal since last year: France, Germany, Sweden (by 2045) and Norway (by 2030).

From commitment to action

The government plans to set up an independent climate commission, likely based on the one established in the UK with nearly unanimous parliamentary support in 2008. UK emissions are down not just to 1990 levels, but to 1900 levels.

The climate commission’s tasks will include providing advice on effective pricing mechanisms for climate pollution, on the transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2035, and on bringing agriculture into the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme.

All parties to the Paris Agreement have already agreed to become carbon-neutral in the second half of this century. The snag is turning that commitment into action.

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