A new report on the potential for New Zealand to reduce its domestic emissions is a welcome opportunity for us, as members of the 51st Parliament, to improve the quality of our debate on the critical challenge of climate policy.
We write as members of the executive committee of Globe-NZ, a national chapter of GLOBE-International, the worldwide association of parliamentarians working to protect and improve the environment. Established in October 2015, Globe-NZ now has 35 MPs across all seven political parties represented in Parliament.
We develop joint insight into climate science and policy challenges through briefings from foreign and local experts, and allow ourselves some informal exchanges over our parties' respective policies.
We are motivated by the belief that protection of Earth's climate is perhaps the greatest of all human challenges, and that we in New Zealand must meet our national responsibility in that respect. How we can effectively and creatively go about the task has become our common focus.
Early last year we approached a London-based consultancy firm to undertake a study for us. The subject was transformational pathways to an emissions-neutral economy for New Zealand in the second half of the 21st century. Those pathways are to be consistent with the Paris Agreement's vision of a 2C world and even lower.
After several visits here and meetings with parliamentarians, officials, experts, sector representatives, iwi leaders and civil society, Vivid Economics has submitted its report to us.
We are pleased with the report - with its professional expertise and creative insights.
It effectively identifies two scenarios which would enable New Zealand to reach neutrality in the timeframe required. Another scenario falls outside this, achieving neutrality in the 22nd century.
Although the report does not explore a fourth scenario in detail, the authors do observe that emissions neutrality as early as 2050 is possible, if ambitious.
The Vivid Report, which is owned by Globe-NZ, was released at a launch in Parliament.
Similar launches are being held this week in Christchurch and Auckland by the respective municipal councils. It is publicly available on Vivid's website.
This is not the place to go into further detail about the contents. On commissioning the report, we explicitly disclaimed any advance endorsement of its policy content, as parties or individuals.
We do not think for a second that the report will result in identical policy agreement breaking out among us on all matters.
What we do think, however, is that the Vivid report will go a long way to providing us with a shared base of information and analysis that will enable us to sharpen our informal dialogue, and our formal debate in the House, over the way forward on our country's climate policy.
If we share that information base, indeed own it together, then we can proceed to debate our different views, from our various philosophical stances, in sharper relief. That can only be for the benefit of the country.
And it is not only us national policy-makers who stand to benefit; the report should stimulate this country's experts, the private sector and our local communities to develop practical action that revolves around the scenarios presented.
Our thanks go to the Minister for Climate Change Issues for her interest in the project, and also to the donors for assisting in its funding.
A shared document of this kind across all parties is perhaps unprecedented in this country. Also unprecedented is the decision of Parliament to hold a debate, specifically on the Vivid report, in April. That is when the test will come, and we are looking forward to the challenge.
To read about the Vivid Economics report click here.