NZ launches Climate Change Commission


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Expert, trusted and independent advice will be essential to ensuring New Zealand plays its part in solving the challenge of climate change. This week, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw announced the team of experts who now have the important task of providing governments with that advice.

“Some issues are too big for politics, and the biggest of all is the climate crisis we face. Our decision to create the Climate Change Commission was about protecting climate policy from political mood swings, meaning every future government can stay focused on the job at hand: to help solve climate change and make our communities are cleaner and healthier,” James Shaw said.

The creation of an independent, non-political body to monitor and advise on how governments can meet New Zealand’s climate change targets was one of the most important parts of the Zero Carbon Act.

“We provided a bold legislative framework for what we need to do build a climate-friendly future for New Zealand; it is the Commission who will now advise us on how best to do that,” James Shaw said.

The six commissioners announced are experts in the fields of climate science, adaptation, agriculture, economics, and the Māori-Crown relationship.

“Looking ahead to a future where we have met our targets and done all we can to solve climate change, it will be in no small part thanks to the Climate Change Commission.

“Whilst it is an advisory body, I fully expect that the impartial and scientifically rigorous analysis it will provide will help keep future governments’ climate policy in check,” James Shaw said.

The Commission will pick up the work started by the Interim Climate Change Committee, which was appointed in May 2018.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the interim commission for their hard work, analytical honesty and rigour. What they have achieved in such a short period of time will have a lasting impact on the future of climate policy,” James Shaw said.

Today’s announcement confirms that, in addition to Dr. Rod Carr, who was appointed as the Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission in October, Ms. Lisa Tumahai will continue in her role as Deputy Chairperson.

In addition to Dr. Carr and Ms. Tumahai, the remaining Commissioners are:

  • Dr. Harry Clark, a New Zealand expert on agricultural greenhouse gas research
  • Dr. Judith Lawrence, a thought leader with international expertise in climate change adaptation
  • Ms. Catherine Leining, a leading New Zealand economist on climate policy and emissions pricing systems
  • Professor James Renwick, a leading climate scientist and a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Science Prize for Communication
  • Professor Nicola Shadbolt, a farmer, company director and academic, with expertise in land use and land-use change.

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