Climate Change

New Zealand unanimously passes climate change law

Centre-right opposition National Party backs Jacinda Ardern govt in legislation towards zero carbon   

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Friday 08 November 2019
New Zealand. Photo: Getty Images

Jacinda Ardern’s historic climate legislation was passed in the New Zealand Parliament with near-unanimous support on Thursday, committing the country to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and meet its commitments under the Paris climate accords.

The centre-right opposition National Party gave support late in the day, despite none of its proposed amendments being accepted. The bill passed 119 votes to one. Climate change minister James Shaw met and negotiated with the party for close to a year on the bill.

The law will set up an independent climate change commission to advise governments on how to meet targets set in law by the bill. The targets are intended to cap global warming at 1.5 degree Celsius by 2050.

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again.” Shaw said.

“Climate change is the defining long-term issue of our generation that successive governments have failed to address. Today we take a significant step forward in our plan to reduce New Zealand’s emissions,” the minister added.

The Kiwi and international media quoted PM Ardern telling her parliamentarians that New Zealand was on the “right side of history”. She said: “I absolutely believe and continue to stand by the statement that climate change is the biggest challenge of our time.

“Undeniably, our sea levels are rising, and undeniably, we are experiencing extreme weather events — increasingly so. “Undeniably, the science tells us the impact there will be on flora and fauna, and yes also the spread of diseases in areas where we haven’t previously seen them.”

“Undeniably, the science tells us the impact there will be on flora and fauna, and yes also the spread of diseases in areas where we haven’t previously seen them.”

The bill will preserve a new 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target into law and require that future governments have plans to meet the target. Environment groups around the world are applauding the island country of nearly five million people. 

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