In a great move to reduce its greenhouse emissions and combat climate change, the New Zealand parliament passed a ‘zero carbon’ bill that would reduce its carbon emissions to near-zero levels by 2050. This landmark legislation will also help the nation meet the commitments of the Paris Accord on climate change.
While the bill was spearheaded by the liberal government, it received support across all parties. It was passed 119 votes to one.
The bill commits the island nation to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees and would require all greenhouse gases other than methane to be reduced to zero by 2050. It also seeks to establish a Climate Change Commission, which will enable the government to reach these steep targets.
Further, the government aims to plant 1 billion trees over the next decade. In terms of electricity, it aims to move entirely on renewable energy from 2035.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden also gave a stirring speech on the occasion, emphasizing that climate change is the “biggest challenge of our time.”
“Undeniably our sea levels are rising. Undeniably we are experiencing extreme weather events, increasingly so. Undeniably the science tells us the impact that there will be on flora and fauna, and also the spread of diseases in areas where we previously haven’t seen them.
“We know as well that some island nations will have their clean water sources impacted by a rising sea level and saltwater entering into them. On a daily basis, they are already seeing those impacts.
“Our world is warming, and so, therefore, the question for all of us is what side of history will we choose to sit on?”
The bill has been widely applauded by environmental agencies and groups across the world, and rightly so! What do you think about this bill? Do you think other nations must follow suit? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.