Parliament approves climate emergency motion . . .
New Zealand’s parliament has approved a motion whereby the South Pacific country joins more than 30 others that have already declared a global climate emergency. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern grounded the declaration in the very real threat many of New Zealand’s Pacific neighbours are experiencing from climate change-induced sea-level rise. Accompanying the declaration is a commitment for government operations to be carbon-neutral by 2025 to set an example for the private sector to reduce emissions. The initiative would see the government transition to electric vehicles, reduce the size of its vehicle fleet, establish a green standard for public sector buildings, and phase out coal heating in government buildings.
Asian positions on climate emergency, carbon neutrality . . .
Last November, New Zealand approved legislation that provides a framework for the country to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Earlier this year, both Japan and South Korea pledged the same, and China announced its intent to be carbon neutral by 2060. The only states in the Asia Pacific region to have committed likewise are Bhutan, Fiji, the Marshall Islands (all with populations under one million), and Singapore. In declaring a climate emergency, New Zealand joins Bangladesh, Japan, the Maldives, and South Korea as the only Asia Pacific countries to have done so.
World ‘doubling down’ on fossil fuels . . .
New Zealand’s climate emergency declaration coincides with the release of a major international climate report slamming current global carbon emission rates. The Production Gap 2020 found decreases in fossil fuel production of around six per cent per year from 2020 to 2030 are required for the world to be on track to limit global mean temperature rise to 1.5°C. Current plans and projections, however, indicate average annual fossil fuel production will grow at two per cent per year. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described the current state as “humanity . . . waging war on nature.” A small country declaring a climate emergency will not arrest the alarming speed and effects of climate change, but it is an incremental step in the right direction.
- The Guardian: World is ‘doubling down’ on fossil fuels despite climate crisis – UN report
- Radio New Zealand: Climate emergency declaration by New Zealand government includes commitment to 2025 targets
- Television New Zealand: New Zealand climate emergency declared after Ardern tells House to 'be on the right side of history'