Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New Zealand Will Consider Climate Crisis in All Major Policy Decisions

Climate
New Zealand Will Consider Climate Crisis in All Major Policy Decisions
The climate crisis is bringing more extreme weather conditions to places like Roys Peak, New Zealand, pictured above. Aaron Sebastian / Unsplash

Consideration of the climate crisis will be front and center in all of New Zealand's major policy decisions. The new rule means that any new proposal before the government that aims either to reduce emissions or has a collateral damage effect of raising emissions will need to go through a climate-impact assessment before it can be considered, according to The Guardian.


The coalition cabinet of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern already takes into account the effects the government's decisions will have on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community and gender equality.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw, also the co-leader of the Greens Party, said this goes one step further since it applies to all government decisions, not just new laws, according to Stuff in New Zealand.

"Ensuring ministers are aware of the implications a decision may have for New Zealand's future greenhouse gas emissions will be vital to ensuring we all playing our part in meeting the commitments we've made," said Shaw as Stuff reported.

Shaw spearheaded a zero-carbon bill that passed the parliament last month, making New Zealand one of the first countries to write its climate crisis targets into law. The law requires the country to produce net-zero emissions by 2050. The prime minister has made the climate crisis a top priority for her government and called it her generation's "nuclear free moment," as The Guardian reported.

"Decisions we take now and in the future about everything from the places we live, to how we get around, to public health, to how we relate to one another will be impacted one way or another by climate change," said Shaw in a statement, as The Guardian reported. "It's crucial therefore that when we're making big decisions climate change is at the forefront of our minds."

Shaw said that the Ministry for the Environment has developed a methodology to estimate emissions impacts, called the Climate Implications of Policy Assessment. The efficacy of its tool will be reviewed in mid-2020, according to The Guardian.

Shaw also noted that the new rule is part and parcel with a new framework for the next 30 years to reduce, similar to a series of bills 30 years ago that encouraged low inflation and low government debt, according to Stuff.

Touting the Climate Implications of Policy Assessment, Shaw said, "Government makes many decisions all the time. Many but not all of those decisions will have an affect on climate change. With infrastructure - you make a decision on a piece of infrastructure with a 30 or 40-year lifespan and you've suddenly locked in a certain emissions path. We want to be aware of that."

"It's crucial that when we're making big decisions, climate change is at the forefront of our minds," he added, as Stuff reported. "I'm delighted that we've developed a tool for the whole government to easily assess whether policies we're considering at Cabinet will increase or reduce the emissions that impact on New Zealanders' quality of life in decades to come."

With restaurants and supermarkets becoming less viable options during the pandemic, there has been a growth in demand and supply of local food. Baker County Tourism Travel Baker County / Flickr

By Robin Scher

Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A technician inspects a bitcoin mining operation at Bitfarms in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec on March 19, 2018. LARS HAGBERG / AFP via Getty Images

As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.

Read More Show Less
OR-93 traveled hundreds of miles from Oregon to California. Austin Smith Jr. / Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs / California Department of Fish and Wildlife

An Oregon-born wolf named OR-93 has sparked conservation hopes with a historic journey into California.

Read More Show Less
A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. The plant, owned by FirstEnergy, was retired the following month. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

By David Drake and Jeffrey York

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The Big Idea

People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.

Read More Show Less