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New Zealand promises a carbon neutral government by 2025, but exempts agriculture

02 December 2020

New Zealand states that its public sector will become carbon neutral by 2025 as it declares a climate emergency.

Reuters reports that New Zealand declaring a climate emergency is being met with scepticism from some critics, who say that the move is symbolic unless it is backed with greater actions to reduce emissions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the climate emergency declaration was based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's findings that to avoid more than 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global warming, emissions would need to fall by around 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2023 and reach zero by around 2050.

 

"This declaration is an acknowledgement of the next generation. An acknowledgement of the burden that they will carry if we do not get this right and do not take action now," Ardern told lawmakers in parliament.

After an hour-long debate, a majority of parliamentarians voted in favour of the declaration. The main opposition National Party voted against it saying it was nothing but "virtue signalling".

New Zealand joins 32 other countries including Japan, Canada, France and Britain that have declared a climate emergency.

Ardern, who returned to power in October delivering the biggest election victory for her centre-left Labour Party in half a century, has called climate change the "nuclear free moment of our generation".

In her first term she passed a Zero Carbon Bill, which sets the framework for net zero emissions by 2050 with an exemption for farming, and banned new offshore oil and gas exploration.

Nearly half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane.

The government on Wednesday 2 December promised the public sector will achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. Government agencies would have to measure and report emissions and offset any they can't cut by 2025.

Read more about this story here.

Source: Reuters



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