New Zealand to toughen climate change measures to meet targets

Sydney, Australia, Jan 31 (efe-epa).- New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission on Sunday released its plan to tackle climate change, which includes decarbonizing energy, a large-scale transition to electric vehicles and a reduction in livestock numbers.

The independent commission indicated that New Zealand’s commitments to comply with the Paris Agreement to limit the global rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius needed more determined action to reach targets.

“Current government policies do not put Aotearoa on track to meet our recommended emissions budgets and the 2050 targets,” the report said.

Its recommended areas for action include increasing the number of electric vehicles, increasing total renewable energy, improving agricultural practices and planting more native trees “to provide a longterm carbon sink.”

“We can’t continue to postpone what we need to do to reach our goals,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said alongside Climate Change Minister James Shaw in response to the recommendations to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Ardern said that the required reforms, which will go through a period of public consultation before the government decides how to apply them, will not pose an economic burden.

“The advice also highlights that the cost of action on the economy is not as great as many have previously thought. In fact action on climate change is an economic opportunity for New Zealand,” said the prime minister.

“Action on climate change is critical to our ongoing economic success. New Zealand exporters rely on our clean green brand and there will be new opportunities for Kiwi businesses as we adapt to a zero carbon economy,” she added.

Although the progressive abandonment of fossil fuels will mean the loss of hundreds of jobs by 2035, the commission estimates that many will be hired in other areas as “employment will rise in the circular economy, development of biofuels and hydrogen, and in deploying and supporting new technologies.”

In this sense, the commission advised the end of imports of cars with petrol or diesel engines and estimates that more than half of the country’s car fleet will be electric by 2035.

To tackle methane production, one of the country’s weak points due to the importance of its livestock industry, the commission advised producers to improve animal productivity and reducing their numbers by 15 percent by 2030.

The Ardern government succeeded in getting the New Zealand parliament to pass a zero-carbon emission law in November 2019 to combat the climate crisis, in compliance with the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. EFE-EPA


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