Jacinda Ardern Declares Climate Emergency In New Zealand
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has committed to creating a carbon-neutral government by 2025, as she declared a climate emergency in the country.
Parliamentarians voted on the declaration today, December 2, adopting it with 76 votes to 43.
Ardern, who started her second term as prime minister last month, stressed that the country must act quickly as the climate crisis poses ‘one of the greatest challenges of our time’.
Addressing parliament, she commented:
When we make statements, it is often that there is a threat to life, a threat to property, and emergencies concerning civil security. If we do not respond to climate change, we will continue to experience these emergencies on our shores.
Vote for this statement, stand on the right side of history, be part of the solution we must collectively deliver to the next generation.
Though the declaration itself is largely symbolic, Ardern made clear the need to take action. She announced the government would ‘demonstrate what is possible to other sectors of the economy by reducing the government’s own emissions and becoming a carbon-neutral government by 2025’.
We must get our own house in order. How can we stand and take a leadership position among the private sector unless we take the same action that we expect of them.
Ardern backed her declaration by stating that the science on climate change is clear, noting that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined that in order to avoid a ‘disastrous’ global temperature rise of 1.5°C, nations must act with ‘urgency’.
The prime minister said that New Zealand had to acknowledge the threat, however the move was rejected by the country’s centre-right opposition National Party, France 24 reports.
The National Party described the declaration as ‘virtue signalling’, with leader Judith Collins saying:
It can do harm in making people think that by declaring an emergency something has happened, when it hasn’t.
It’s quite false and misleading.
Though Collins claims the emergency has not happened, Ardern described the declaration as an ‘acknowledgement of the next generation’, adding that it is an ‘acknowledgement of the burden that they will carry if we do not get this right and if we do not take action now’.
New Zealand is one of 33 nations that have formally acknowledged the global crisis by declaring a climate emergency after the UK government became the first on May 1, 2019.
Last year, Ardern committed the country to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and to generate all of its energy from renewable sources by 2035.
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