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The new coalition government and what the agreements mean for climate change action
The new coalition government and what the agreements mean for climate change action

The BulletinNovember 29, 2023

What the new government means for climate change action

The new coalition government and what the agreements mean for climate change action
The new coalition government and what the agreements mean for climate change action

There are some unexpected provisions in the coalition agreements about climate, but the primary issue of meeting targets without a means to achieve them remains, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.

Cop 28 host planned to use role to broker oil and gas deals

With the United Nations climate conference, Cop 28, due to start on November 30, the already controversial decision to host it in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has become even more heated. Documents obtained by independent journalists at the Centre for Climate Reporting working alongside the BBC reveal the UAE planned to use its role as host as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals. They include references to Adnoc, the UAE’s state oil company, being “willing to jointly evaluate international LNG [liquefied natural gas] opportunities” in Mozambique, Canada and Australia. A Colombian minister was told that Adnoc “stands ready” to support Colombia to develop its fossil fuel resources.

Cop 28’s focus on food presents huge challenge for New Zealand

The credibility of the climate talks has been in question for a while, but journalist Rod Oram, who is attending the talks, told Q&A’s Jack Tame that the location will intensify the forum. The European parliament has called for a global deal at the summit to phase out fossil fuels, aiming to add pressure on countries to tackle CO2-emitting oil and gas. This year’s conference will be the first to have a major focus on food. Oram says a roadmap being delivered by the UN on how to reduce emissions from food production and agriculture represents a “radical reinvention of farming” and that presents a huge challenge for New Zealand. As Stuff’s Olivia Wannan reports, an announcement from Fonterra has made it clear to its milk suppliers that they must “make a green shift before 2030”, with the company aiming to cut the average emissions of its milk by 22%. Wannan writes, “after an election that seemingly hit the brakes on farmers taking climate action, Fonterra just gave it a rev up.”

National party ‘painted itself into a corner’ on targets without a way to achieve them

Wannan has also done an excellent job of reviewing the coalition agreements to determine what they mean for climate change action here. As expected, Wannan writes, “the coalition government has hit the brakes on climate and environmental action”, but the agreements contain some unexpected provisions and even one or two positives. There is an unexpected provision to “allow for the exploration of natural geological hydrogen” and a nod from NZ First to “incentivise the uptake of emissions reduction mitigations, such as low-methane genetics, and low-methane-producing animal feed”. The primary issue remains, however. The Zero Carbon Act has survived, and we remain committed to the Paris Agreement. Climate policy analyst Paul Winton says, “the National party has painted itself into a corner by agreeing to meet the 2025 and 2030 national targets without a credible way to achieve them.”

No climate or environment minister in cabinet

There is also the matter of both the new climate change minister, Simon Watts, and the new environment minister Penny Simmonds, sitting outside cabinet. Christopher Luxon had pledged to have a climate minister in cabinet in SeptemberAs Wannan reports, Forest & Bird’s Nicola Toki says considering how New Zealand’s environment attracts tourists, it was “very unwise” to have the roles outside cabinet.


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