The Green Party is pushing for climate change to be formally acknowledged in all government legislation.
Co-leader James Shaw has unveiled the policy at an international Greens congress in Wellington today.
It would make it mandatory for new laws and law changes to include climate change impact statements.
Mr Shaw said the measure would mirror the current use of regulatory impact statements.
“So the government makes a lot of decisions all the time, and we have no idea of what the impact is on climate change, or how climate change impacts on those decisions.”
This isn’t a bad idea. Governments make better decisions if they are aware of all of the costs.
But one would have to be careful how you interpret the data. For example take the Government giving beneficiaries an extra $25 a week. That will lead to an increase in consumption and activities such as transport. That would mean that the climate change impact of such a policy is to increase greenhouse gas emissions.
Now I doubt the Greens would say beneficiaries should not have got a benefit increase, because it increases greenhouse has emissions. So it shouldn’t be seen as a binary approval mechanism.
But nevertheless, having the impact on greenhouse gas emissions known for all legislation is not a bad policy, and worth doing. The Government should seriously consider it.