New legislation was just passed in New Zealand that should result in the country becoming more committed to effectively managing climate change by decreasing carbon emissions to net zero within the next 30 years, therefore adhering to the conditions of the Paris climate agreement. The bill was passed with 119 votes against 1.
According to climate change Minister James Shaw, the legislation – which will have New Zealand devoted to holding global warming temperature increase to 1.5°C – will better prepare the nation for the deteriorating climate crisis.
“We’ve led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again,” says Shaw. “Climate change is the defining long-term issue of our generation that successive governments have failed to address. Today we take a significant step forward in our plan to reduce New Zealand’s emissions.”
The future in mind
The bill set a 2050 carbon emission reduction goal in place that will also demand that governments of the future establish strategies to abide by the zero emission target. A climate change commission will also be formed to make sure that subsequent governments allocate funding and resources to adapt to the shifting climate conditions.
“[We’re on the] right side of history,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “I absolutely believe and continue to stand by the statement that climate change is the biggest challenge of our time. Undeniably, our sea levels are rising, and undeniably, we are experiencing extreme weather events, increasingly so. Undeniably, the science tells us the impact there will be on flora and fauna, and yes also the spread of diseases in areas where we haven’t previously seen them.”
The emission decrease goal will focus on two different avenues: biogenic methane reduction (emissions generated by living creatures, such as the billions of animals used in factory farming), and emissions produced by all other means.
Kevin Hague, the Chief Executive at Forest & Bird (a protection society for New Zealand), says, “Now we need to see a path to carbon neutrality that has protecting and restoring nature at its heart. The bill is only a first step on climate change. We need concrete, urgent, climate action to save our most vulnerable native species and restore native ecosystems.”