Environment

New Zealand passes historic law to decarbonize economy by 2050

New Zealand passes historic la...
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds a joint press conference with the European Commission earlier this year
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds a joint press conference with the European Commission earlier this year
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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds a joint press conference with the European Commission earlier this year
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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds a joint press conference with the European Commission earlier this year

In what is being hailed as a historic moment for the island nation of five million people, New Zealand’s parliament has passed new legislation that commits the country to a carbon neutral economy by 2050. The bill garnered support from both sides of politics, and seeks to ensure future governments also do their bit to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5° C (2.7° F) above pre-industrial levels.

First introduced back in May and passed into law on Thursday, the Zero Carbon Bill is designed to put New Zealand on a path to entirely decarbonizing its economy by 2050. Key to this strategy is the establishment of an independent Climate Change Commission, which will provide advice on the best way to reach this target.

Moving forward, future governments of New Zealand will be required to set new emissions budgets every five years, which will serve as stepping stones toward the ultimate objective. The new legislation also requires governments to both understand and act on the risks of climate change – for example, rising sea levels or the loss of flora and fauna.

“We have to start moving beyond targets, we have to stop moving beyond aspiration, we have to start moving beyond statements of hope and deliver signs of action," New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told parliament on Thursday. “That is what this government is doing, and proudly so.”

In implementing what is being hailed as landmark legislation, which drew support from both Ardern's government and the opposition National party to pass 119 votes to one, New Zealand joins just a small handful of nations to commit to net-zero carbon economies through law.

Bhutan and Suriname are already carbon negative, while Norway and Sweden have laws in place to work toward carbon neutrality by 2050. France and Britain, which both passed laws earlier this year, were two big additions to the list, while other large countries like Spain and Germany have proposals under consideration.

Promisingly, many more have pledged to take climate action under the Paris Agreement, under which 65 countries committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the UN’s Climate Action Summit in September.

The United States, the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide, this week formally withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord.

Source: New Zealand Parliament

10 comments
John
I'm excited about this ! I am almost 70 years old so my enthusiasm is very much for my grandchildren ! Way to go New Zealand . Perhaps after the 2020 election the USA can lead the way. I think the opportunities for successful green businesses are many. Perhaps we can set our sights on carbon negative ? Will we then control the weather in some way ?
piperTom
I weep for the people of NZ, whose progress will be hindered by this showy fiasco. Their pain and sacrifice will do absolutely nothing to improve the climate.
bwana4swahili
New Zealand has already gone bankrupt once. This will insure another shot at destroying their economy!
aksdad
"We have to...deliver signs of action." That sums up the goal of everyone duped into believing global warming is an existential threat (it isn't). The goal isn't to do something practical or efficacious. The goal is to just "do something". It will be interesting to see what NZ does since they get 60% of their energy from oil, natural gas, and coal. Of the 40% from renewables, 55% of that total comes from geothermal, 25% from hydro. Only 2% of the 40% (or less than 1% of all energy production) comes from wind. Solar is virtually zero (0.076%). So what do they plan to replace fossil fuels with? More hydro or geothermal? Wind certainly won't do it. If they were serious about reducing carbon emissions, they would rapidly adopt nuclear power plants which produce electricity in the cleanest, safest, most reliable and efficient way humans have ever invented, with no CO2 emissions. And with uranium extraction from seawater now an economical and practical possibility, there is enough to power human energy needs for a billion years; essentially a renewable energy source. But almost without exception greenies hate nuclear, thinking solar and wind will become the reliable energy source to replace fossil fuels, which is a fantasy as any economist can tell you. So we're left to accept the fact that all these proposals to "de-carbonize" economies are unserious and only meant as gestures to indicate that someone is "doing something".
Signguy
Aksdad: Yup.
Fastship
Marxism in the South Pacific. As always, it starts out with fraternal love and always, always ends up with the people having to eat their own pets.
christopher
There is no end to the stupidity of politicians and greenies. To achieve that target, NZ will need to produce TWENTY SEVEN *TIMES* MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY THAN THE ENTIRE PLANET COMBINED ALREADY PRODUCES. There are SO MANY nutcases who just cannot get to grips with the scale of this problem. ELECTRICITY is not the same as ENERGY... you can't put a solar panel on your roof, and use that to drive tractors around farms, trucks around roads, refrigerators at night, etc etc. "Carbon" comes from coal, gas, and oil. Getting rid of carbon means replacing WAY more than 100 TERRAWAThours *worth* of energy annually - and that's now - by 2050, at their current growth, it will be DOUBLE that or more.
Fairly Reasoner
The better news is that it will take them a bit longer to reach the rest of us on their sailing ships.
aki009
Another highfaluting goal by some politicians who have no idea how to get there without going the way of Venezuela. At least most honest politicians pretend that they are not lying.
Bill S.
NZ has lost their collective minds. I know 10 Kiwi's now living in Las Vegas and will NEVER go back to NZ. They have seen the insane greenie idiots moving toward a disaster to their beloved homeland. Welcome home Fred and Wilma.