Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will halve emissions by 2030

Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will halve emissions by 2030

Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced New Zealand will reduce its net greenhouse emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 as the country looks to be more ambitious on climate change.

The announcement from Ardern and New Zealand’s climate change minister James Shaw was made on Sunday, on the eve of the United Nations COP26 conference in Glasgow.

“New Zealand’s enhanced contribution to the global effort to fight climate change now represents our fair share, and is in line with what’s needed if we are to avoid the worst impacts of global warming on New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said in a statement on Sunday.

“Climate change is a priority for the Government because it’s a threat to our economy, our environment and our everyday lives. Lifting our commitment is an investment in a stable climate that will benefit us all in the future.”

The commitment from New Zealand is the country’s new Nationally Determined Contribution, lodged under the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5˚C.

The new target is expressed as a reduction of net emissions by 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and equates to a 41 per cent reduction on 2005 levels using an “emissions budget” approach. New Zealand’s previous target was to cut emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Ardern and Shaw said it’s also consistent with recommendations made by the country’s independent Climate Change Commission, that had advised New Zealand’s previous target was incompatible with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5˚C.

“While we are a small contributor to global emissions, as a country surrounded by oceans and an economy reliant on our land we are not immune to the impact of climate change, so it’s critical we pull our weight,” Ardern said. “The increased NDC is a big step towards ensuring New Zealand is doing everything it can to help tackle global climate change.”

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the new Nationally Determined Contribution goes beyond a focus on just domestic emissions budgets, although that will be the first priority. He also said he hopes New Zealand can improve upon this new target in the future.

“To meet our new NDC the first priority will be to reduce emissions at home – and to do so in a fair and equitable way. This will be driven by the Emissions Reduction Plan we will publish next year,” Shaw said.

“We will then add to this by working to reduce emissions in other parts of the world. The priority here will be to support developing countries in the Asia-Pacific to meet their Sustainable Development Goals. 

“What we see from other countries is that once emissions start to come down, it is possible to pick up the pace of change, while also cutting costs and creating new opportunities. We fully expect the same to happen in New Zealand. And so, as we start to work with other countries and cut our own emissions, I hope we can raise the bar for our NDC again in the future.”

Shaw also said this decade is “make or break for the planet”, and to stand a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the science shows we now have about eight years left to almost halve global greenhouse gas emissions.

“That’s eight years for countries to make the necessary plans, put in place policies, implement them, and ultimately deliver the cuts,” he said.

Jacinda Ardern said the new Nationally Determined Contribution is a “big step” towards ensuring New Zealand is doing everything it can on climate change.

“Our new contribution complements the work the Government continues to do to build a prosperous, low carbon economy for New Zealand. This work is laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs and supports our recovery from COVID-19.”

Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw had a conversation about the announcement via a live video on Instagram on Sunday.

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