New Zealand has vowed to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, boosting its previous plans to limit global warming, at the start of the COP26 talks in Glasgow.
"While we are a small contributor to global emissions, as a country 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," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a statement.
She went on to say: “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.
“Climate change is a priority for the government because it’s a threat to our economy, our environment and our everyday lives.”
The PM and Climate Change Minister James Shaw said in a joint statement that the prior target wasn’t in line with global efforts to curb global warming to 1.5º Celsius above pre-industrial levels, CNN reports.
New Zealand’s past target was to reduce emissions to 30% under 2005 levels by 2030.
The 2015 Paris Agreement committed signatories to maintain global warming to "well below" 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, preferably to 1.5 degrees.
However, since then, carbon levels in the atmosphere have increased.
"This decade is make or break for the planet," the Climate Change Minister said in the statement. "To stand a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 Celsius, the science shows we now have about eight years left to almost halve global greenhouse gas emissions."
New Zealand’s government has implemented a number of policies to reduce emissions during its second term. These include pledging to make the public sector carbon-neutral by 2025 and only purchasing zero-emissions public transport buses from the middle of the current decade.
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