The long-awaited Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, released this week, is just one step towards transforming our economy, according to one climate expert.
- From humble beginnings to a key Government pledge: The journey of the Zero Carbon Act
- Thousands have their say on Zero Carbon Bill
"We absolutely need a more radical change than the Zero Carbon Act... it is just one piece of the puzzle."
David Hall is a senior researcher with the Policy Observatory at AUT, and told Newshub Nation that New Zealanders will need to think bigger to truly combat climate challenges.
"Its a high-level framework in which decisions will be made in the future but it's not in and of itself practical action."
The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill will create a legally binding objective to limit global warming to no more than 1.5degC and an independent climate change commission to set emissions reduction targets. See more details here.
However, critics say the bill is toothless as there are no consequences for failing to meet those targets.
Hall says meaningful change won't come from the top-down, and it's up to each individual to take their share of responsibility.
"We all need to work towards projects and activities that deliver tangible climate mitigation and adaptation outcomes. That's a job not just for government but for business, for communities, iwi and hapu, universities and councils."
Hall says the recent United Nations report on biodiversity loss, which paints a grim picture of ecological decline, shows the need to radically rethink our relationship with nature.
"Many of us forget that we are a part of nature. Often we frame ourselves as humans who are separate from and perhaps even dominant above nature. But that's just not true...If we have this massive biodiversity collapse it will have all sorts of implications for food supply."
According to the report, up to a million species now face extinction within decades, including many insect populations vital to pollinating crops.
Hall says the enormity of the challenge can push people into apathy or even outright despair but stresses the only way to deal with the fear of climate change is to take action.
"The scale of change and disruption to the environment is naturally scary. And so it's not wrong or unusual to feel fearful about it
"I think acting is just the key thing and that's the best way to overcome one's anxiety and fears about these issues."