Zero Carbon Bill: Opinions still split as submissions close

Opinions on the Zero Carbon Bill are still split as submissions draw to a close.

The Bill was announced on May 8 and aims to curb New Zealand's emissions for both CO2 and methane.

It will create a legally binding objective to limit global warming to no more than 1.5C with a net-zero carbon approach.

A 10 percent reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030 is the target set out in the Bill, with a provisional reduction ranging from 24 percent to 47 percent the aim by 2050.

Some members of the rural community are asking for the Bill's methane target to be reduced, claiming it would be too difficult to reach.

"While the 10 percent reduction by 2030 will be very challenging, we believe we can make a decent crack at it," DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said in a statement. 

"Our modelling indicates an average annual cost could be up to $13,000 per farm between 2020 and 2030. That's why we are advocating for the target to be checked by the Commission once they are established, and regularly reviewed. 

"However, the 2050 target is just not realistic and must be changed."

Beef and Lamb New Zealand insight officer Jeremy Baker told Newshub methane has been unfairly targeted and the emphasis should be put on other gasses.

"We want to actually play our part, but we also want to see that every single gas does its fair share and it's really important that we see not just gross emissions targets for methane, but gross emissions targets for CO2."

It wants a target of a 12 percent reduction in methane emissions by 2050, half the minimum currently set out in the Bill.

But other groups want the Bill to go further and implement stricter methods to ensure targets are kept.

"The Bill is still half-baked in many ways," Generation Zero Zero Carbon Act policy lead James Young-Drew said in a statement. 

"It contains a number of big loopholes, such as a lack of legal enforceability, and the exclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions."

"Most concerningly, the Bill fails to match the urgency and scale of the climate crisis. Long-term thinking is important. But the Zero Carbon Bill needs to drive immediate, transformative change. 

"The next decade is the most crucial part of the journey to a zero-carbon economy."

Even the faithful are getting involved, with an open letter published by religious leaders calling for a stronger Bill. 

Reverend Lyndon Drake of the Te Tai Tokerau Diocese told Newshub for the Anglican church, it's a natural move.

"We believe God has called us to take action in the world, one of those areas is care for creation, so it's very important for us to not just give lip service to that but also to support efforts to bring about real change."

It seems it's living up to Climate Change Minister James Shaw's hopes for the Bill. He warned in 2018 he wanted to make everyone "equally unhappy" with it.

"I think the thing that people are going to have to realise is that it's going to involve some compromise from everyone," he told Newshub Nation.

"No one is going to get everything that they want as a result of this process… As long as everyone's equally unhappy, we have a chance of getting this over the line."