04 Jun 2024

Climate Action Advocacy: Toitū Envirocare's Submission to the Climate Change Commission

Posted in: Environmental news

The science, evidence, and real-world impacts of climate change are escalating rapidly. This urgency fuels our collective drive to transform our environmental impact from negative to positive.

Every five years, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) reviews New Zealand's emissions budgets and recommends the next steps. The CCC is currently preparing its advice for the fourth emissions budget (2036-2040) and reassessing the first three budgets (2022-2035). The consultation covers three critical areas:

  1. The 2050 emissions reduction target
  2. The fourth emissions budget
  3. The potential inclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions in the 2050 target

Our vision – the future we want to see – is for all organisations to achieve a net positive environmental impact. As New Zealand’s leading carbon and environmental certification provider, Toitū Envirocare has submitted a detailed response to all three documents. Our submission is based on our expertise in climate science, ensuring best practices are upheld, and our collective responsibility for enabling our 1100+ members to continue having impact.

We aim to make science-aligned international best practices accessible and ensure that New Zealand maintains high standards for environmental measurement and reporting. Our submission represents a collective response, advocating for urgency, consistency, and genuine collaboration to reverse the negative impacts of climate change.

Effective climate action requires robust communication. Positive engagement and advocacy across government, business, and communities enhance collaboration and accelerate decarbonisation. Recent events underscore the need for action:

The recent Copernicus report indicated that global temperatures exceeded the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit for much of 2023. This breach, while not permanent, is a clear warning. We agree that it is increasingly evident that global temperature increases will exceed 1.5°C. Weakening the current target is not an option. Toitū Envirocare is in support of strengthening the targets if supported by data. Maintaining the 1.5°C target is essential to prevent even more severe temperature rises.

To meet the 1.5°C target, government commitments must be bold and ambitious. This is why we’re submitting our response and making it publicly available.

You can read our full submission in the link below, but we’ve also pulled out our four key takeaways that we feel were integral to responding:

  1. Toitū Envirocare is advocating for government support for a Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) framework to support more private–public collaboration, scale up climate activity in Aotearoa, and provide greater assurance of integrity and certainty amid significant changes in global VCMs. Developing a VCM framework is an important action identified in the emissions reduction plan. Opportunities exist to drive climate mitigation actions outside the NZ ETS, which can be leveraged through VCMs.
  2. The fourth budget is important because it provides long term ambition and the path to the 2050 targets. An ambitious fourth budget is an enabler for long term sustainable emissions reductions and reduces the risk of not meeting the 2050 targets. Changes in national climate policy in Aotearoa New Zealand can have a significant impact on options for the fourth budget period. Many decarbonisation projects have long lead times, and they benefit from consistent government policy that has cross party support, so that projects can be planned and implemented beyond electoral timeframes.  Emitters looking at significant capital decarbonisation projects require certainty on the parameters that influence the economics of such projects.
  3. Toitū Envirocare would support strengthening the 2050 emissions target if supported by data; for example, a finding that the rate of warming and expected warming has increased since the initial targets were set. Rationale for any change needs to be transparent and based on evidence.
  4. We support the inclusion of emissions from aviation and shipping in the 2050 target to align New Zealand targets for aviation and shipping with other OECD nations.

Read our submission here