Climate change adaptation should be an initial focus for the Interim Climate Change Committee because it should easier to build political consensus over than mitigation. And showing progress on our Zero Carbon bill will be important for our EU free trade agreement.
The Climate Change Commission needs an education and information role if it is to achieve its objective of holding success governments to account for climate change outcomes that benefit New Zealand. Ultimately it is voters, rather than the unelected commission, who hold governments to account. But the Commission can play a key role in ensuring voters understand the difficult tradeoffs their elected officials have to make.
I want to congratulate the Greens for bringing the climate change policy debate back to adaptation, and castigate the Nats for not making more of their own work in this area.
The retiring parliamentary commissioner for the environment, Jan Wright, has suggested New Zealand should lock down its commitments to greenhouse gas emissions, as made at COP21 in Paris in 2015 into legislation. In this article, I suggest it is premature to lock the commitments down into legislation.
A robust and independent assessment of the immediate benefits of our climate change policy is urgently needed to maintain public support for our climate change commitments. This needs to be done before the real costs of our Paris (COP21) commitment start to bite.