New Zealand parliament passes motion declaring climate emergency
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New Zealand parliament passes motion declaring climate emergency

The New Zealand parliament has passed a motion declaring a climate emergency in recognition of the ongoing global crisis. It joins jurisdictions in thirty-two other nations that have formally acknowledged the crisis and declared a climate emergency. The motion approved Wednesday was supported by the Labour Party, the Greens and te Pāti Māori while the National Party and ACT opposed it.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved the motion in light of the fact that climate change counts as one of the biggest challenges of our time, realizing that volatile weather will affect the wellbeing of the people of New Zealand. The motion also notes the loss of biological diversity due to climate change.

Ardern committed the government to lead by example by reducing its waste and emissions in pursuit of a carbon-neutral government by 2025. The government plans to achieve this by phasing out large coal boilers and having their petrol vehicle fleet adopt electric cars. The initiative picks up from where the previous Labour government left off in 2007. It had initiated a move towards carbon neutrality, to be achieved within five years. It set up a three-step initiative that involved measuring and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the emissions, and offsetting remaining emissions. The program was cut by the subsequent National Party government.