When the Government declared a climate emergency at the start of December, the opposition responded by denouncing it as mere virtue signalling, not backed by any meaningful action.

From February 1, every party in Parliament will have the opportunity to say exactly what lengths we should go to for climate action, when they respond to the draft emissions budgets from the Climate Change Commission (CCC).

Established by the Zero Carbon Act, the CCC has spent the past year consulting scientists and experts about what New Zealand will need to do to meet its domestic emissions reduction targets: a 10 percent reduction in methane emissions by 2030, a 24-47 percent reduction in methane by 2050 and net zero all other emissions by 2050.

The emissions budgets that the commission releases will put us on a pathway to meeting those faraway goals, restricting how much the country can emit in three successive five-year periods - from 2022-2025, 2026-2030 and 2031-2035. These are progressively updated every five years.

While the Government is not required to accept the commission's recommended budgets and can use its own instead, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has indicated he plans to accept whatever the commission recommends.



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