Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Climate Change: More emergencies

Last week, ECan declared a climate change emergency, becoming the first local authority in New Zealand to do so. They were swiftly followed by Nelson, and Christchurch looks like it will follow suit this week. And from a report on Friday, Parliament might do it as well:

Canterbury and Nelson have moved into a state of "climate emergency" - and Parliament could soon vote to make the declaration.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw agrees global warming has created an emergency, and applauded Environment Canterbury (ECan) and Nelson City councillors for taking the step.

And he revealed some MPs are in discussions about taking a similar stance on a national level.

That would require MPs to approve a motion in Parliament, as they have done in Britain and Ireland in the last few months.

All of which is great, but we need this to be more than empty symbolism. Instead, these declarations need to include language stating that climate change will be considered in all future policymaking - or, in the case of the government, legislative teeth to make that happen. And with the Zero Carbon Bill having its first reading this afternoon, there's an obvious way to do that: remove the existing s5ZK (which allows but does not require agencies to take climate changes into account) and replace it with one that requires them to do so.