Government of New Zealand recently declared a climate emergency and also announced its commitment to make its public sector carbon-neutral by 2025, calling on the country to “act with urgency”.
After returning to power with a landslide majority in October election PM Jacinda Ardern moved the motion in parliament on Wednesday.
Majority of parliamentarians voted in favour of the motion following an hour-long debate.
The declaration is based on findings by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which suggests emissions need to fall by 45 percent by 2023 and reach zero by 2025 to avoid more than 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global warming, the PM informed the parliament.
The motion was passed shortly before 4pm, with Labour, the Greens and te Pāti Māori all voting in support, and National and ACT opposed.
Ardern said “[Parliament will] show leadership and demonstrate what is possible to other sectors of the New Zealand economy by reducing the government’s own emissions and becoming a carbon-neutral government by 2025.”
“Government agencies will have to measure and reduce their emissions and offset what they can’t in order to achieve carbon neutrality.
“The public sector needs to be and will be an exemplar that sets the standard we all need to achieve by 2050,” Ardern said.
The programme also includes an immediate focus on phasing out the largest and most active coal boilers, a requirement for government agencies to purchase electric vehicles and reduce the size of their car fleet, and for a green standard for public sector buildings.
It is backed by the $200 million State Sector Decarbonisation Fund.
However, opposition parties voted against the motion and labeled it as just a marketing gimmick.
New Zealand is far behind its target of net zero emissions by 2050, the target was set out with legislation passed in the prime minister’s first term as Zero Carbon Act.
Transport at 47.0 per cent and manufacturing industries and construction (17.9 per cent) arethe biggest source for country’s CO2 emissions.
To achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 will require government agencies switch to electric vehicles, close down 200 active coal boilers and downsize the size of their car fleet.