Topics: Environment, Politics

Climate change plan “a start” but “lacks detail” –  Iwi Chairs leader

By Talisa Kupenga

The government's announcement on how it will tackle climate change provides a plan for the next 30 years.  Iwi Chairs Forum Climate Change spokesman Mike Smith says it falls short.

"We've got to be going faster and we've got to be harder,” Smith says.

"Today what we heard was a lot of aspirational goals and targets, saying 'this is what we're going to aim for' but there's no detail about how we're going to get there and equally if the sectors in society don't move in that direction, how is the government going to compel them or enforce it?"

Climate Minister James Shaw says, "The critical thing is for us to do everything we can to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, this bill makes that a legally binding objective."

The bill sets a zero net carbon emissions target by 2050 for all greenhouse gasses except biological methane– the emissions from livestock such as cattle.

Methane emissions will have a 10 percent reduction target by 2030 and aims for a wider provisional target range between 24-47-percent by 2050.  This range will be reviewed by the independent Climate Change Commission, which will be created under the bill.

Shaw says, "This split-target approach is informed by science and acknowledges that biological methane does not contribute the same long-term warming as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide."

But National leader Simon Bridges says many top scientists do not agree with the targets.

"This methane target just too high, it's not where the science, the economics or where the globe is at and it will have real implications."

Smith says, "the future of our mokopuna, there is no second prize, we either win that or it's 'game over' so we've got to get it right…we can't afford to have fake solutions or weak solutions."

Public submissions open in June.