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NZ Parliament passes zero target climate action bill

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New Zealand has passed legislation to drive the country towards zero net carbon emissions by 2050, with the exclusion of short-lived gases emitted by plant and animal sources.

The legislation establishes an independent Climate Commission, which will advise the Government on targets and policies, while also acting as a watchdog by releasing progress reports and highlighting problems.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will not be a “slow follower” after other countries on climate change issues.

“We cannot afford to be, not for the environment but nor for our food producers. They trade on our brand and our name,” she told Parliament last week.

New Zealand has also committed to action including planting a billion trees by 2028, making electric and cleaner cars more affordable, stopping the issuing of new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration, and aiming for 100% renewable power generation by 2035.