Article – The Conversation: New Zealand’s climate change regulation is messy and complex – here’s how to improve it

If it is messy and complex in NZ .. God help us all!

The Conversation writes…

Like other countries, New Zealand has both international and domestic targets to reduce emissions, but they run on different timelines and are based on different assumptions.

This week, public submissions close on New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan which proposes policies for staying within the emissions budget for 2022-25 and keeping on track for future budgets.

New Zealand also pledged to cut emissions by half by 2030 when it announced its upgraded nationally determined contribution (NDC) during the recent COP26 climate summit. This is part of the global effort, under the Paris Agreement, to limit warming to 1.5? above pre-industrial levels.

The co-existence of international commitments, domestic laws and carbon budgets shows how complex climate change regulation is. This complexity can be confusing. It highlights the “messiness” of New Zealand’s current regulatory regime and the need for a legislative “tidy-up”.

Under domestic legislation, the Climate Change Response Act 2002 (CCRA) requires the government to set emissions budgets for five-year periods up to 2050 and to publish an emissions reduction plan for each period. Following the current consultation period, the government will release its first emissions reduction plan in May.

New Zealand’s new international pledge has a timeline to 2030 and equates to an emissions budget of 571 Megatons of CO?-equivalent (MtCO?e) to “spend” between now and then. Under the domestic climate change law, the proposed combined budgets for 2022-30 add up to 28MtCO?e more than this (599MtCO?e).

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Climate Change Response Zero Carbon Amendment Act 2019