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New Zealand Proposes Climate Change Bill Aimed for Zero Carbon Emission by 2050

New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister James Shaw (left) and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

The government of New Zealand proposed Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, with an aim to limit average global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

New Zealand government has introduced a climate change bill aimed to make the country go carbon neutral by 2050. The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill would help in limiting average global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The bill targets for biological methane and all other greenhouse gas emissions. Methane mainly emits from ruminant cows and sheep. The generation of electricity, and transport and industry produces carbon dioxide.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday that the bill would establish an independent climate change commission.  The proposed measure was aimed at addressing the “long-term challenge of climate change”. “We know the climate is changing. People can see that,” Jacinda was quoted as saying. “It will give a start to tackle climate change because doing nothing could bring a catastrophic cost,” she added.

The proposed “aspirational” bill has set a target for a 10% reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030. Also, it aims for a provisional reduction ranging from 24% to 47% by 2050.

Parts of the bill have cross-party support. However, targets for the reduction of methane in the agricultural sector have been a source of dispute. While the opposition National party considers it too high, environmentalists want the country to aim for net-zero emissions.

“Agriculture is incredibly important to New Zealand. But it also needs to be part of the solution,” said the climate change minister, James Shaw. However, the bill was criticised by Greenpeace by calling it “toothless” for having no way of enforcing its targets.

At present, nearly half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. Methane from livestock digestive systems produces about 35%, followed by nitrous oxide from nitrogen added to soils as fertiliser.

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