The Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality – New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission Report is Here
It’s about time we started taking climate change seriously.
The Climate Change Commission has acknowledged this by releasing a monumental report that calls for "transformational and lasting change across society and the economy" in the face of the climate crisis. The report has had more than 15,000 public submissions, and was presented to the government on the 31st of May, 2021.
But, as an organisation, it can be hard to interpret such a call-to-action without knowing exactly where to start. That’s where we come in.
This Chinese Proverb puts it best: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”. Our carbon reporting software – e-Bench® helps you stay ahead of the curve.
Now, before we dive deeper into what this report means for your organisation – let’s start with a bit of background.
The Climate Change Commission
If you haven’t heard of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) before, you’re likely wondering who has made ANOTHER climate report worth making a fuss about.
Who is the Climate Change Commission?
The CCC was formed in November 2019 as an independent government organisation focused on climate change and climate action. Their vision is a “thriving, climate-resilient and low emissions Aotearoa where our children thrive”.
What do they do?
The Commission keeps track of our progress toward the country’s climate goals – laid out in the Zero Carbon Bill. They provide evidence-based advice on climate issues to the New Zealand Government to make sure we reach our climate commitments.
Why does it matter?
In order to adapt and change accordingly to the ever-changing climate, New Zealand needs to transition to a climate-resilient, low emissions economy. The CCC’s advice ensure that the government is best informed on how exactly to make this happen.
The Report Itself
The report is called “Ināia tonu nei: a low emissions future for Aotearoa” and can be found on the Climate Change Commission’s Website if you’re wanting to take a deep dive.
What is the purpose?
The report aims to advise the direction of policy needed to “quickly, significantly and permanently reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.
Who is it for?
The report was released to the New Zealand Government and public on the 31st May 2021. Until then, the report underwent public consultation from the end of January and received 15,000 public submissions.
All advice that the CCC presents to the government MUST be made publicly available.
Figure 1: The Six Pieces of Advice the CCC Must Provide
A significant conclusion was that all the report’s goals could be made using only existing technology. So, the tech is there, but how are we tracking?
The report found that New Zealand is NOT on track to meet our emissions reduction targets under the Paris agreement. Not only are we not on track, we’re set to blow past the targets by millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG).
We are currently on track to emit over 100 million more tonnes of GHG than the Climate Change Commission's budget calls for between 2022 and 2035. Shocking, right?
The report sets three new targets: an average reduction of 2 percent each year between 2022 and 2025, 17 percent each year between 2025 and 2030 and 36 percent each year between 2030 and 2035.
The report’s advice is described by the Commission’s chair as “ambitious, but realistic” and calls upon the government to support business and agriculture to move more quickly towards climate goals.
James Shaw, Minister for Climate addressed the report, saying " when I look at the strategic policy direction the Commission has set out, I am more confident than I have ever been that it can be done".
The government is set to release an Emissions Reduction Plan 2021, that will set out exactly how the first three emissions budgets will be achieved.
Not everyone is so optimistic about the report’s ambitions, however.
Greenpeace campaigner Amanda Larsson believes the report did not crack down hard enough on agriculture, calling it “incredibly timid”.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle countered this, saying that the commission's draft was already ambitious, calling the emissions goals “very steep”.
It’s not just agriculture that has people disappointed with the report’s suggestions. Mike Smith, Iwi Chairs Forum climate spokesperson, said the quick turnaround for consultation had excluded tangata whenua, the people of the land.
Despite these responses, the report is here to stay, and the government is set to respond to the advice.
What Does That Mean for Your Organisation?
Expect to see more climate-related legislation being released as the government strives to reach the emissions budgets laid out in the report.
The report claims that both individual and corporate behaviours need to change and recommendations have been made to strengthen market incentives for low-emissions investments. The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is an important part of this.
Supporting innovation and mobilising finance for low-emissions decisions are also on the table.
This means that over the coming years, there will never be a better time to start decarbonising your organisation. Financial and reputational benefits from low-emission decision making are set to reach an all time high.
But to reduce your emissions, you have to have a handle on them in the first place. That’s where having data and insights on your organisation’s impact is crucial for calculating and reporting upon your organisation’s emissions.
Our e-Bench® system presents easy-to-interpret reports that help make your organisation’s decision-making processes informed and simple. From there, you can implement changes within your organisation to reap the benefits as soon as possible.
To learn more about how e-Bench® can help you stay ahead of the curve, book a time to chat with us at Carbon EES.