In 2019, the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 amended the Climate Change Response Act 2002. This was to provide a framework by which New Zealand can develop and implement clear and stable climate change policies.
The Minister of Climate Change now has additional powers, functions and responsibilities under the Act including:
- recommending appointments to the Governor-General for members of the Climate Change Commission
- setting emissions budgets and ensuring they are met
- preparing emissions reduction plans
- preparing national adaptation plans
- requesting certain organisations to provide information on climate change adaptation.
Under the Act, the Climate Change Commission will:
- provide independent advice to Government on issues such as emissions budgets, and emissions reduction plans
- make sure the 2050 target remains appropriate over time.
It will also publish progress reports on climate change mitigation and adaptation, to which the Minister has a responsibility to respond.
The Climate Change Response Act 2002 also puts in place a legal framework to enable New Zealand to meet its international obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
Under the Climate Change Response Act, the Minister has powers, functions and responsibilities in relation to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme including:
- recommending to the Governor-General the issuing of an allocation plan providing for pre-1990 forest land and fishing
- appointing a person to apply for and hold New Zealand units in trust to be freely allocated for Crown forest licence land that has not been transferred to iwi as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement
- ensuring allocation plans are in force at the appropriate times for industrial, agriculture and fisheries sectors and make determinations for the free allocation of New Zealand units in accordance with those plans
- initiating and appointing a panel to conduct a review of the operation and effectiveness of the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Under the Climate Change Response Act, the Minister has additional powers in relation to the Emissions Trading Scheme including:
- exempting any person listed in Schedule 3 from being a participant
- issuing New Zealand units into a Crown holding account in consultation with the Minister of Finance
- notifying the Crown’s intention to issue and sell, or allocate freely, New Zealand units
- directing the Chief Executive in relation to the Chief Executive’s exercise of power and performance of functions under Parts 4 and 5 of the Act
- adding further removal activities to Schedule 4 and activities relating to fishing and coastal shipping to Schedule 3
- recommending to the Governor-General the making of regulations relating to a wide range of matters related to the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Under the Climate Change Response Act, the Minister has additional powers, in relation to the inventory agency, including:
- directing the inventory agency in its function of providing reports under the Kyoto Protocol on New Zealand’s emissions profile to calculate our liability
- authorising suitably qualified and trained people to exercise inspection powers in relation to inventory agency functions
- recommending to the Governor-General the making of regulations requiring people to keep and provide information to the inventory agency on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases, if necessary, to help New Zealand meet its obligations under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change or the Kyoto Protocol.