Seminar Presentation: Stepping Stones to Paris and Beyond

Public lecture by Dr Jan Wright on 6th October 2017

In this talk, Dr Jan Wright discussed her most recent report, Stepping stones to Paris and beyond. This report is Dr Wright’s last as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and she sees it as fitting that its subject is the most important environmental issue of them all: climate change. In 2008, the UK House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in support of a new climate change law. It is a law that sets up a process for reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the future – a process that endures through changing Governments. Some have suggested that New Zealand should follow the UK and enact similar legislation. In her report, Dr Wright has examined the merits of this proposal.

Speaker: Dr Jan Wright was in as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment for a five-year term on 5 March 2007 and reappointed for a second term in early 2012. Jan has a Physics degree from Canterbury, a Masters degree in Energy and Resources from Berkeley in California, and a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard. In 2012 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Lincoln University, and in 2015 was made a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Prior to her current role, Jan worked as an independent policy and economic consultant for many different government agencies and as a member of various Crown Entity Boards. Jan views climate change as the most significant environmental threat facing the world, and has produced two major reports on rising sea levels. Other reports have covered topics as diverse as fracking, agricultural greenhouse gases, and the decline of New Zealand's native birds. In her most recent report Jan considered how New Zealand might chart a pathway to meeting its emissions targets, recommending all parties come together in support of a new Act that is similar to the UK Climate Change Act.