Jacinda Ardern commits New Zealand to cutting its carbon emissions in HALF in just nine years – but how does she plan to pull it off?
- Jacinda Ardern will emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 using an accounting trick
- Criticised by climate groups that say emissions are calculated incorrectly
- All nations in the Paris Agreement will limit temperature increases to 1.5C
Jacinda Ardern plans to cut carbon emissions in New Zealand by 50 per cent within nine years by using a controversial accounting trick.
The prime minister and climate change minister James Shaw announced the new goal on Sunday, a day before 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
‘To stand a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C, the science shows we now have about eight years left to almost halve global greenhouse gas emissions,’ Mr Shaw said.
‘That’s eight years for countries to make the necessary plans, put in place policies, implement them, and ultimately deliver the cut.’
Pictured: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Climate Change Minister James Shaw
But some groups are saying the target is too low because two-thirds of the reduction will come from buying offshore climate offsets or other global reductions, rather than cutting emissions within New Zealand alone.
The net target will also take elements like forestry offsets into account, which take carbon dioxide out of the air, meaning that gross emissions will likely not drop by 50 per cent.
Oxfam, Greenpeace, and Lawyers for Climate Action criticised the Kiwi government for changing the way emissions are calculated.
The pair have pledged to reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030
‘Let’s be real here, this is not our fair share,’ Oxfam New Zealand executive director Rachael Le Mesurie told Stuff.
‘The government has changed the way they count our emissions reductions to make them look like they are doing more than they are.’
Under the Paris agreement, which is a legally binding international treaty, all participating countries are required to reduce greenhouse gases to try and limit global temperature increases to no more than 1.5C.
Ms Ardern’s government’s target is higher than the one set by the National Government in 2015.
New Zealand initially pledged to cut emissions by 39 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Pictured: People protesting in New Zealand on October 27, before the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow
In January, the Climate Change Commission found the figure needed to be higher.
‘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,’ Ms Ardern said.
‘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.
‘While we are a small contributor to global emissions, as a county 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.’
Mr Shaw said the targets would bring New Zealand ‘up to speed with other countries’ commitments’.