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New Zealand passes law aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2050

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Wellington, New Zealand Nov 07, 2019, 03.10 PM (IST)

New Zealand has placed itself on the right side of history in the battle against climate change, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday (November 7), after lawmakers adopted a measure to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050.

"Our world is warming, and so, therefore, the question for all of us is, 'what side of history will we choose to sit on in that moment in time?' I absolutely believe and continue to stand by this statement that Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time. And for us in Aotearoa, New Zealand, that means for this generation this is our nuclear moment. We have made a choice that I am proud of, that will leave a legacy and that I hope means the next generation will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history," she said on the floor of the parliament.

Thursday's framework enshrines in law the new 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target and makes it a legally binding objective to keep global warming below a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius forecast by the United Nations.

The bill, spearheaded by her centre-left Labour-led coalition government, was passed with cross-party support from the main opposition National Party, despite changes promised by the latter if it wins the next election in 2020.

The bill accords different treatment to methane emissions from animals versus other greenhouse gases, but still targets a cut of 10 percent in biological methane by 2030 and up to 47 percent by 2050.

Story highlights

Thursday's framework enshrines in law the new 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target and makes it a legally binding objective to keep global warming below a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius forecast by the United Nations.