James Shaw 'frustrated and making progress' on climate change action

Greens co-leader James Shaw says he is "both frustrated and... making progress" on climate change action while in Government. 

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"I would always like to move faster, always," when the minister was asked by Jack Tame if the Government were working fast enough in response to climate change. Source: 1 NEWS

The Climate Change Minister spoke on TVNZ1's Q+A last night, ahead of the release of recommendations into agricultural emissions and renewable electricity. 

"I would always like to move faster, always," when asked by host Jack Tame if the speed the Government were working was adequate in response to climate change. 

"The thing about climate change is you've got to sustain your activity over decades and multiple changes of government, and whilst you’re doing that, you’ve actually got to keep everyone on board," Mr Shaw said. 

"Would I have liked to have gone faster?" he said on the Zero Carbon Bill, which is currently sitting in Select Committee stage of Parliament. "Yes, I would, but the changes that we’re talking about here are multiple decade pieces of legislation, and it’s important that we get it right."

Mr Shaw said the Government had spent a long time working with National "in good faith" over the bill. 

"If you look at their first reading speeches, they pretty much supported every provision in the bill apart from the methane target, that’s quite a high degree and quite a remarkable degree of consensus to get to at this point, but I can’t guarantee the future."

The Green Party co-leader would be announcing recommendations from the Interim Climate Change Committee today, saying there was "a couple of really important things that we want to make some progress on" prior to the Zero Carbon bill passing in Parliament. 

"One of those is how we get to 100 per cent renewable electricity generation and the other is how we manage agricultural emissions."

He said different scenarios would be released in how emissions would be treated.

"New Zealand First, when they negotiated forming the government with the Labour Party, agreed that if agriculture was to come into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that they would receive a 95 per cent discount on the value of those emissions.

"There would be an extremely well-managed transition into the scheme if that was to occur."

He said farmers would "not necessarily" be hit with additional costs, if the ETS was to include agriculture. 

"The whole point of this is that actually what you do is you reward people who are becoming more efficient, reducing their emissions – that actually they get rewarded under the kinds of schemes that are being proposed."

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Mr Shaw talks about a long awaited report detailing how farmers can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, on July 15. Source: Q+A

Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.