Labour says will legislate to target net zero emissions by 2050 vs 1990 levels; Says agriculture will be gradually introduced into the ETS, starting with allowing it 90% of emissions free

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has announced the party’s climate change policy – read the announcement below and the policy document here.

Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.

“Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place in the world to combat this problem, we have to show leadership.

“For too long, we have set targets and not done what’s needed to achieve them. That’s why Labour will set up an independent Climate Commission to examine what reductions can practically be achieved by each sector and recommend emissions reductions targets.

We will also set emissions reductions targets in law and be accountable to the public for them.

“The Emissions Trading Scheme is at the core of delivering on our targets. We have always had a policy of an all sectors, all gases regime and that remains our policy.

“For agriculture, a gradual introduction of the price signal from the Emissions Trading System, starting with giving the sector 90 per cent of emissions free, will help bring emissions down without hurting agriculture’s contribution to the economy. Government-backed science has made impressive advances in methods to reduce farm emissions without reducing output. We will also ensure that farmers operating at best practice are recognised and directly credited for the reductions they achieve.

“I also want to see kids get involved in the fight against climate change, so we will establish a Youth Climate Change Challenge. Children from Year 7 on will be able to take part in projects to tackle emissions in their communities. Each year, I’ll invite the young people with the best ideas to come to parliament to their ideas to tackle climate change.

Labour will also back further research into Climate Change and the transitions required to achieve our targets by establishing a Transitions National Science Challenge. National Science Challenges are supposed to be asking the big questions of our time – this is one of the biggest questions of our times.

“We know that we must do our part, however small, in the global effort against climate change but there are also huge opportunities here to create jobs and wealth in low-carbon industries. We must ensure a just transition for workers in high-emissions sectors to clean jobs, and support industries that are carbon sinks, such as forestry,” says Jacinda Ardern.

The points below are from the policy document:

Labour will:

• set a target of net zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, with legally binding emissions reduction targets, and carbon budgets to keep New Zealand on track to this goal

• establish an independent Climate Commission to recommend interim emissions reduction targets and provide advice on the ramifications of not achieving them

• encourage young people to take part in the effort to end our climate pollution through a Youth Climate Change Challenge

• show government leadership by requiring state-owned enterprises and other government organisations to actively pursue low-carbon options and technologies including all future purchases of all Government vehicle fleets to be electric vehicles unless there is an exceptional reason otherwise

• restore the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), including bringing agriculture into the ETS by the end of our first term, with 90% of emissions free

• ensure that farmers operating at best practice are recognised so they can be directly credited for emissions reductions they achieve

• support a just transition for workers in industries that need to reduce emissions and the creation of jobs in sectors that are carbon-free or carbon sinks, such as forestry

• establish a Transitions National Science Challenge to consider the science, research and development required for the transition to a low-carbon economy.