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Interim Climate Change Committee Announced

Home Insights Interim Climate Change Committee Announced

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Contributed by: Emmeline Rushbrook and Geordie Johnson

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Published on: April 24, 2018

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On 17 April 2018, the Minister for Climate Change, Hon James Shaw, announced the membership of the Interim Climate Change Committee (Committee). The Committee is tasked with examining how New Zealand could transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2050, with 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035. The Committee is a precursor to the permanent Climate Change Commission (Commission) which will be established by legislation and will progress key issues for climate change policy. The Commission will eventually make recommendations to the Government on how to best achieve its net zero emissions goal.

Committee's terms of reference

The Committee's terms of reference specifically asks for recommendations on how best to incorporate agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and how to plan for the transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035. The Committee has also been tasked with examining how the Commission should contribute towards developing a five-yearly carbon budget as well as progressively more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of the terms of reference the Committee is required to consult widely before making recommendations, including with the public, iwi/Māori, industry, technical experts, special interest groups, sector lead groups and other interested parties.

The Committee is made up of six members who have been selected for their expertise in a range of relevant areas including: agriculture, climate change science and policy, economics and impacts, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori interests, and energy production and supply. The Committee will be comprised of:

  • Dr David Prentice (Chair), former CEO and Managing Director of Opus International Consultants;
  • Lisa Tumahai (Deputy Chair), Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu;
  • Dr Harry Clark, an agricultural greenhouse gas research specialist;
  • Dr Keith Turner, former CEO of Meridian and professional director;
  • Dr Jan Wright, former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment; and
  • Dr Suzi Kerr, an expert in the economics of climate change policy and emissions trading.

Updated Indicative Timetable

Interestingly, Appendix 2 of the terms of reference also sets out an indicative timetable for the Zero Carbon Bill being enacted (April 2019), amendments being made to the Climate Change Response Act (Nov/Dec 2019) and other milestones for the Committee and the Government. Based on this timeline, the permanent Commission would be in place in May 2019. 

To see the Minister's press release on the Interim Climate Change Committee click here. See the Cabinet Paper outlining the Committee's terms of reference here.

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