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NSW Embarks on Climate Action with Newly Launched Net Zero Commission

NSW Launches Net Zero Commission, Appoints First Chair

In a decisive move to fortify its commitment against climate change, the New South Wales (NSW) government has taken a significant stride with the establishment of the Net Zero Commission. This initiative represents a cornerstone of the government’s strategy to achieve ambitious climate goals, underscored by its dedication to legislate and actualize a future of reduced emissions. The Net Zero Commission emerges as a beacon of independent oversight and expert guidance in the state’s journey towards a sustainable environmental blueprint.

The Commission’s mandate draws from the pioneering Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Act 2023, setting forth a roadmap to dramatically lower net greenhouse gas emissions—targeting a 50% reduction by 2030, a 70% cut by 2035, and reaching net zero emissions by 2050. This trajectory not only aligns NSW with global sustainability targets but also sets a precedent for comprehensive action within Australian borders.

Functions attributed to the Net Zero Commission are multifaceted and pivotal. They include:

  • Monitoring the holistic progress of the economy towards the emission reduction and adaptation benchmarks;
  • Dispensing independent, high-caliber advice on methodologies for NSW to effectively confront climate challenges;
  • Enlightening the NSW Government, as well as businesses and citizens, about proactive measures and strategies to mitigate climate impact.

At the helm of this soon-to-be seminal institution is Dr. Paul Grimes PSM, appointed as the Chair of the Net Zero Commission. Dr. Grimes, along with a distinguished panel of Commissioners, represents a broad spectrum of expertise and experience across essential domains such as climate science, economic and financial systems, technology, public administration, and community interests—particularly those of Aboriginal and rural areas. The amalgamation of these diverse skill sets ensures a comprehensive approach to tackling climate change in NSW.

The list of appointed Commissioners includes renowned figures such as:

  • Maria Atkinson AM
  • Oliver Costello
  • Hugh Durrant-Whyte (also serving as an ex-officio member and NSW Chief Scientist)
  • Frank Jotzo
  • Katerina Kimmorley
  • Meg McDonald
  • Andy Pitman AO

The Commission’s structure enables direct accountability to the NSW Parliament through the establishment of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Net Zero Future. This ensures a transparent and regular reporting mechanism on the state’s advancements towards its set climate goals. Moreover, the Commission is tasked with engaging in consultations with the future NSW Agriculture Commissioner, promoting an integrated approach to climate adaptation and mitigation across all sectors of the economy.

Penny Sharpe, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, conveyed her enthusiasm regarding the formation of the Commission, stating, “I’m thrilled to announce the appointment of these exceptional, eminent individuals to lead the Net Zero Commission. These appointments illustrate the Minns Labor Government’s solid resolve to forge a sustainable and vibrant future for the people, economy, and environment of NSW.” She further highlighted the Commission’s role in providing expert verdicts on the state’s progress, its adaptive strategies to the evolving climate scenario, and its function as a vehicle for inclusive progress, aligning government actions with business and community efforts towards the net zero objectives.

With the NSW Net Zero Commission, the state embarks on a pivotal transition, embracing a future where economic growth and environmental sustainability converge, heralding a model of governance that other regions might well look to emulate.

Ethan Wilder

Ethan Wilder is a conservation photographer and videographer whose lens captures the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world and the critical challenges it faces. With a focus on wilderness preservation and animal rights, Ethan's work is a poignant reminder of what is at stake. His photo essays and narratives delve into the heart of environmental issues, combining stunning visuals with compelling storytelling. Ethan offers a unique perspective on the role of art in activism, inviting readers to witness the planet's wonders and advocating for their protection.

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