Foreign Desk Report
WELLINGTON: New Zealand promised its public sector would become carbon neutral by 2025 as it declared a climate emergency on Wednesday, a symbolic move that critics said needed to be 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% 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”.