Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Climate Change: Alignment

One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if the government assessed all policies for their climate change impact. And thanks to the Greens, it is finally going to start doing that:

Major government decisions will be required to go through a climate change assessment, thanks to new rule.

A Cabinet circular instituted by the Greens means any legislation or government decision aimed at reducing emissions, or likely to greatly increase emissions, will have a mandatory "climate impact assessment" attached.

This will join mandatory assessments on how bills impact human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender equality.

Its an obviously good move, and one which has been too long coming. If we'd been doing this back in 2002, or in 1996, we wouldn't be in nearly the emissions mess we're in now. And the assessments will be publicly released, meaning that we'll be able to see whether the government is making decisions that reduce emissions or increase them - and hold them to account for it.