Climate Change

New Zealand to be carbon neutral by 2050

LegalBrief, 13 May, 2019

New Zealand introduced legislation last week to make the South Pacific nation carbon neutral by 2050, although greenhouse gas emissions from the economically vital agricultural sector will not have to meet the commitment. According to a report in The Herald, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Bill would help New Zealand contribute to a goal of limiting average global warming to 1.5°C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. ‘The government is today delivering landmark action on climate change,’ she said. The centre-left leader said avoiding the issue would be gross negligence and burden future generations. But the legislation does not explicitly outline how the economy will become carbon neutral by 2050, sparking criticism from environmental campaigners. Instead, it establishes an independent Climate Change Commission, which is charged with helping New Zealand reach the goal by setting five yearly emissions budgets. While the government described its legislation as binding, Greenpeace New Zealand said it did not include any way to enforce the targets, rendering it toothless.

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