Climate Change Minister James Shaw wants everyone 'equally unhappy' with Zero Carbon Bill

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says if everyone is "equally unhappy" with the final state of the Zero Carbon Bill, he'll be happy.

More than 15,000 submissions were made on the proposed Bill. More than 90 percent said they want a target of net zero emissions across all greenhouse gases by 2050.

"The results that we're seeing through this consultation are broadly consistent with the messages we're getting from public opinion polling," the Green Party co-leader told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

He said there were responses from every industrial business sector and lots of environmental organisations, but the vast majority came from individuals.

"While there's a very clear steer that's coming through from these submissions, there are some quite strong voices in there with concerns about the speed or the scale of the transition, or how it's going to affect particular industries, and you have to pay attention to those voices as well otherwise you just don't have a sustainable solution."

The Bill won't be a partisan push. After all, as Mr Shaw points out, it was a National-led Government that signed New Zealand up to the Paris Agreement, which commits New Zealand to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

"We are talking through the detail of the targets between the Government and the Opposition as we negotiate the final form of the Bill," said Mr Shaw.

"I have a view, but there are options that are in front of us and we are talking through the detail of how we do that. I think the thing that people are going to have to realise is that it's going to involve some compromise from everyone. 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."

But Greenpeace NZ executive director Russel Norman disagrees with this approach.

"Do you really want climate policy in New Zealand to be hostage to the backbenches of the National Party?

"You think about the nuclear-free - did we go, 'Oh let's all sit with our hands together and kumbaya, that's how we'll get nuclear free?' No. The Government took a strong lead and eventually National came in behind and admitted it had to follow.

"Government took leadership, we took a strong position on it. Climate change is the same. This is too important to water down to some kind of commission that has no powers, doesn't even affect all gases."

But Mr Shaw says while they may not end up with a "perfect" Bill, it's more important to establish clear targets, a pathway for reaching them and set up the independent Climate Change Commission.

"If you get those things in place, then you'll see a huge signal sent into the economy about the scale of change, and things will start to unlock and move very quickly."

James Shaw.
James Shaw. Photo credit: Newshub Nation.

The agriculture sector, which is responsible for half the country's greenhouse gas emissions, has previously expressed concern over the possible inclusion of methane in the net zero targets.

But James Shaw says he thinks he's got their support.

"There is buy-in from the agricultural sector. This is the thing I think a lot of people haven't realised - is how far farmers themselves and their industry organisations, and companies like Fonterra and Synlait and others, have come over the course of the last 10 years or so, and in particular in the last few years…

"Pretty much everyone's on board. What we're really talking about is the scale and the speed of the transition."

No date has been set for the Bill's introduction to Parliament.

"In my view it's more important to get it right, than it is to worry about a few weeks here or there."

Newshub.

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