As world leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26, New Zealand has announced it will pursue a more ambitious target of reducing its net greenhouse emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.
While the country is a “small contributor to global emissions”, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it is critical New Zealand pulls its weight as a nation “surrounded by oceans and an economy reliant on our land”.
“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,” Ms Ardern said in a statement on Sunday.
“Climate change is a priority for the government because it’s a threat to our economy, our environment and our everyday lives.”
Under the Paris Agreement, each country adopts an international target known as a Nationally Determined Contribution.
NZ’s updated NDC announced on Sunday is expressed as a target to reduce net emissions by 50 per cent below gross 2005 levels by 2030.
This equates to a 41 per cent reduction on 2005 levels using what is known as an ’emissions budget’ approach.
“The improved NDC comes off the back of our increased investment in climate aid, especially in the Pacific, and represents a big step up in New Zealand’s role in tackling climate change,” Ms Adern said.
The announcement comes as the prime minister of Australia arrives in Glasgow pledging a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050, but refusing to lift its existing aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by just 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Scott Morrison’s plan has been labelled as light on detail, with opposition leader Anthony Albanese criticising its reliance on future technology and calling for the net-zero target to be legislated.
The international community has about eight years to almost halve global greenhouse gas emissions to “stand a chance” of limiting global warming to 1.5C, New Zealand’s Minister of Climate Change James Shaw said.
“That’s eight years for countries to make the necessary plans, put in place policies, implement them, and ultimately deliver the cuts,” Mr Shaw said on Sunday.
“To meet our new NDC the first priority will be to reduce emissions at home – and to do so in a fair and equitable way. This will be driven by the Emissions Reduction Plan we will publish next year.”