UN report has serious implications for NZ’s Zero Carbon Bill - a crucial bill for health

29 June 2018

The latest reported draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C shows growing certainty that 2°C of warming is a dangerous step for humanity, and for the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Differences between global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C are “substantial” – damaging to communities, economies and ecosystems across the world.

As well as cutting carbon dioxide to net zero, rapid reductions in other gases, "particularly methane", are demanded by the UN report. The report also calls for "more emphasis on efforts to cut emissions before 2030". The Zero Carbon Bill will need to be further strengthened to ensure it is responding to the science.

OraTaiao co-convenor Dr Alex Macmillan says the draft UN report adds further impetus for NZ to act decisively on all gases, keeping up with the science. “Three decades of sitting on our hands means we now need to face the reality that all sectors must play their part in responding to the climate crisis.”

“Healthy climate law is fast, fair, firm and Treaty-based,” says Dr Macmillan. “It needs to ensure NZ does its fair share in giving the world the best chance possible at keeping global warming below 1.5°C. We also need a just transition for vulnerable communities within NZ, including farming communities. Treaty partnership is fundamental at every step of our net zero emissions journey. This is about all of us working together for economic resilience, fairness, justice, and for better health for everyone.”

“Importantly, we also know that well-designed climate action can create better health and fairness now and in future. Energy efficient homes can be warmer, drier and more affordable; low carbon transport can make it easy to be more active and clear the air; and shifting towards a plant-based food system can reduce cancer and address our freshwater crisis. The Zero Carbon Bill can and should multi-solve for health and fairness.”

“The government’s Zero Carbon Bill should be seen as a crucial Bill for health in New Zealand,” says Dr Macmillan. “For our health’s sake, the Climate Commission has to set emissions budgets that rapidly reduce NZ’s domestic carbon, nitrous oxide and methane emissions, starting immediately”.


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