The Future is Equal

Zero Carbon Bill risks failing to live up to its purpose, Oxfam says

In response to the Environment Select Committee’s report on the Zero Carbon Bill, Oxfam New Zealand spokesperson Alex Johnston said:

“To live up to its stated purpose of helping keep global warming within 1.5 degrees, the Zero Carbon Bill needs significant amendments when it goes back before the House to give us the transformative targets that we need, backed up by proper legal accountability,” Johnston said.

“A 2030 methane target of only 10% hamstrings our ambition and puts an unfair burden on the other sectors of the economy to pick up the slack. Likewise, the methane target range for 2050 is too low to encompass the scenarios for staying under 1.5 degrees laid out by the IPCC.

“We need a version of the Bill that will see every sector pitching in to at the very least halve our overall emissions by 2030. This is the bare minimum required by developed countries to take responsibility for our pollution and to keep the world on track to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement.

“To not do so is to let down the i-Kiribati and people of Tuvalu. It indicates that we will not act for a 1.5-degree future or live up to our responsibilities towards our Pacific neighbours.

“It is good to see more scope for the courts to make sure decision-makers are taking targets and emissions budgets into account, but we had also hoped to see proper legal accountability restored in the Bill, so there would be remedies available if these targets are not going to be met.

“Every percent of emissions reductions, and every tenth of a degree of warming matters – what targets we set and how we enforce them determines the value we place on the millions of lives being disrupted right now by climate breakdown.

“We hope that those MPs who gave messages of hope to the 170,000 New Zealanders striking for ambitious climate action last month will put forward amendments to get this Bill into shape, so that we can play our part for climate justice.”

Notes for editors:

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C (SR15) laid out four scenario pathways for staying within 1.5 degrees of global warming. While the interquartile range for methane emissions was a 24-47% reduction by 2050 (from 2010 levels), the full range of pathways was up to a 69% reduction by 2050 (IPCC SR1.5, Figure SPM.3B).