Climate Change Commission report paves the way for change – but greater urgency is required

By Phil Jones

The Sustainable Business Network welcomes the Climate Change Commission’s Draft Advice for Consultation. We acknowledge and appreciate the Commission’s mammoth effort and expertise in producing such a comprehensive report. It provides an affordable pathway for New Zealand to move towards a net zero carbon economy by 2050. However, we are calling for greater aspiration and more ambitious action to match the urgency of the issue.

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Phil Jones, is SBN’s Programme Manager – Climate. He says we must embrace the opportunity for a long-overdue change in direction.

“As the report notes, New Zealand is well behind the pace in taking meaningful climate action.  We are significantly off track to contribute to global efforts to maintain a safe climate and meet our international obligations. We are in a climate emergency and need to take urgent action.

“The report emphasises that the necessary technological solutions are available today – we need to commit to implementing them at scale and pace.

“This will be welcomed by the many Kiwi businesses (including those in our business network) that have already introduced these solutions in New Zealand. For these businesses it has often been a struggle, in a system that has not provided the right incentives for them to succeed and has continued to reward extractive (polluting) businesses.

“The Commission has signalled a long-overdue change in direction. We must embrace the opportunity and provide policy certainty to make it happen. Innovators and others in the business sector can then enhance existing low carbon solutions and develop new ones with confidence.

“The Commission has highlighted the many co-benefits from taking action, including the necessary move to a more circular economy, one that changes the way we use and value resources and begins to help regenerate our natural environment. We also welcome the consideration of Te Ao Maori and the focus on a just transition.

“However, while we applaud the work of the Commission, we feel the policy recommendations could be even more aspirational. The emission targets are ambitious but they could be even more so. Many of the proposed policies are welcome and overdue, but they could be more transformative.  

“If we adopt the report’s recommendations, by 2050 we’ll still have a private car-dominated transport system and land use focused on pastoral farming and pine plantations. We would like to see a greater focus on public and active transport, and more ambition to diversify our land use.”

The Sustainable Business Network will host an event to discuss the report in more detail (watch this space!) and we encourage our network businesses to provide submissions on the report and call for even greater aspiration.