New Zealand has joined 32 other nations in formally acknowledging a climate emergency. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described climate change as “one of the greatest challenges of our time” and pledged that New Zealand would have a carbon-neutral government by 2025.
But not all New Zealand governmental officials agreed. The Green Party and the Māori Party supported the motion, which noted an “alarming trend in species decline and global biodiversity.” The National Party and Act Party opposed it.
Related: Japan aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050
Since New Zealand ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016, its good intentions have not been matched by progress in reducing emissions. New Zealand is among 12 out of 43 industrialized countries whose net emissions increased between 1990 and 2018. In the last 20 years, the country’s net emissions rose 60%.
“The irony is, even under Trump, the U.S. is going to have made better per-capita reductions than we have,” said Bronwyn Hayward, a political science professor at University of Canterbury, as reported by The Guardian.
National Party leader Judith Collins called the emergency declaration virtue signaling. “We think it’s all very well to declare an emergency but there’s no proper plan in place as to how to deal with it,” Collins told Radio New Zealand. She pointed out that only about 10% of the government’s vehicle fleet is electric.
The vehicle situation is one of the topics Ardern plans to address. In the future, the government sector will only buy electric or hybrid vehicles. Coal-fired boilers will also be phased out of public service buildings. “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 said. “It is up to us to make sure we demonstrate a plan for action, and a reason for hope.”
Via The Guardian
Image via Dan Freeman