New Zealand passes ‘zero carbon’ law to combat climate change

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 7, 2019

New Zealand lawmakers joined forces across the aisle to pass a bill aimed at combating climate change.

It also commits to being a "mostly" carbon neutral country by 2050, but gives limited exemptions for methane emissions from livestock.

New Zealand's plan to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 became law on Thursday, when it cleared its final hurdle in parliament.

"We're here because our world is warming".

The bill has different regulations for methane emissions from animals versus other greenhouse gases, due to farming's important role in bringing in foreign income. 'And so therefore the question for all of us is what side of history will we choose to sit on'. "Undeniably, the science tells us the impact on flora and fauna - yes, also the spread of diseases in areas where we previously haven't seen them", she said. However, it still aims to cut 10% of biological methane by 2030, and up to 47% by 2050.

In particular it sets diminishing targets for biogenic methane emissions, it requires governments to set five yearly emissions budgets and it creates an independent commission to advise governments, on both mitigation and adaptation.

"We are on the right side of history", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

"We've led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again".

Agriculture is key to the economy of New Zealand, which is home to just under 5 million people but more than 10 million cows and some 28 million sheep.

Nearly half of total emissions come from agriculture.

The bill says the lower targets for methane reduction reflect that it stays in the atmosphere for a much shorter time than carbon dioxide, although climate scientists point out that methane is far more potent while there.

Following earlier promises by President Donald Trump, the USA this week began the formal process of pulling out of the deal.

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