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  HOME | Science, Nature & Technology

New Zealand Passes Zero Carbon Bill to Combat Climate Change

SYDNEY – Lawmakers in New Zealand passed on Thursday a bill to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.

“I am really proud to stand in this House today for what is a historic moment. (...) Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy. (...) We in New Zealand are on the right side of history,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech at the Parliament in Wellington.

The law commits New Zealand to keeping global warming below 1.5 C, as stipulated by the Paris Agreement – from which the United States formally withdrew this week – and marks an important step in the fight against the climate emergency looming over the world according to more than 11,000 scientists worldwide.

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear free and votes for women, now we are leading again,” Climate Change Minister James Shaw tweeted.

The zero emissions target excludes methane emissions but the law pledges to reduce them gradually.

The law includes the establishment of a green investment fund worth NZ$100 million ($64 million), a carbon trading scheme and inclusion of agriculture in emissions pricing by 2025, and the plantation of one billion trees by 2028, according to a statement by the ministry of climate change.

The law also stipulates suspending the release of new permits for hydrocarbon explorations at sea and supports the production of cheaper electric vehicles apart from setting a goal of 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035.

The legislation aims to cut biological methane emissions from agriculture by 10 percent until 2030, and targets 24-47 percent reduction in emissions by 2050.

Simon Bridges, leader of the opposition and the New Zealand National Party, said that his party supported the bill but would keep trying to introduce changes in the future in order to make it better.

 

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