New Zealand symbolically declares climate emergency

02 Décembre, 2020, 07:34 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Climate Change Minister James Shaw

New Zealand's Parliament has given the green tick to declaring a climate emergency - but the Climate Change Minister has admitted that not everything will be completely carbon neutral within five years.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, bottom center, is applauded after moving a motion in the Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand, to declare a climate emergency.

This is part of the Government's goal to make the entire public sector carbon neutral by 2025.

"The public sector needs to be and will be an exemplar that sets the standard we all need to achieve by 2050".

That was a sentiment shared by National, whose climate change spokesman Stuart Smith told MPs that Ardern's motion was "nothing but virtue signalling".

"Globally, we have entered an age of action", she said, before calling on MPs to get on the "right side of history".

Joining more than 30 countries, New Zealand on Wednesday took the symbolic step of declaring a climate emergency. "And it's about the burden of debt they will inherit unless we make sure that we demonstrate leadership on this issue".

Christiana Figueres, who was executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change through the Paris Agreement talks, said the world expected more from Australia in the lead-up to the so-called COP26 climate talks to be held in Glasgow next November.

One of the ways she plans to do this is through the Government's new electric vehicle mandate.

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Government agencies will now be required to "optimise their auto fleet" by purchasing electric vehicles or hybrids, when EVs are not appropriate for the required use, such as for some military purposes.

To pay for this, the Government will dip into its $200 million State Sector Decarbonisation Fund.

Departments and Ministries are also included.

The declaration states that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity and promises a commitment to minimize global warming.

"It is unfortunately just another collection of words of the honest policy and concerted action New Zealand must take to drive down our emissions", she said.

The climate emergency declaration notes the "devastating impact" that volatile weather will have on New Zealand, as well as the "alarming trend in species decline".

"Today's performance from the government was a triumph of politics over practical solutions, and of slogans over substance", said another opposing lawmaker, David Seymour.

"We are saying this is an emergency that has a level of equivalence to any Civil Defence emergency", Greens co-leader James Shaw said.

Greenpeace said the motion was a "win for people power", but is challenging Ardern and her Government to follow through quickly with policy and action to cut New Zealand's climate pollution.

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