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New zealand Zero-carbon Act

Why in news?

New Zealand’s Parliament recently passed The Zero-Carbon Act, which will commit New Zealand to zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner.

What is the Act on?

  • The Act comes as part of the country’s attempts to meet its Paris climate accord commitments.
  • The Act is not a separate legislation but is an amendment to the existing Climate Change Responses Act, 2002.
  • The Act is titled Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act.
  • It provides a framework by which New Zealand will be able to develop and implement climate change policies in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • The objective is to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius.
  • According to the New Zealand government, this is the first legislation in the world to make a legally binding commitment to living within 1.5°C of global warming.

What are the key targets?

  • The Bill presents the country’s plan on how to act over the next 30 years, to safeguard its future and that of its children.
  • The key aims of the Act include:
  1. reducing all greenhouse gases (except methane) to net zero by 2050
  2. reducing emissions of biogenic methane (produced from biological sources) up to 10% below 2017 levels by 2030 and to 24-47% below 2017 levels by 2050
  3. establishing an independent Climate Change Commission
  4. establishing a system of emissions budget
  • The Act proposes separate targets for biogenic methane.
  • [Biogenic methane is emitted by livestock, waste treatment and wetlands.]
  • This is because methane is a short-lived climate pollutant with an atmospheric lifetime of around 12 years.
  • While its lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than carbon dioxide (CO2), it is much more efficient at trapping radiation.
  • In other words, it is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

Also Read : Coral Reef Bleaching

How suitable is New Zealand to this?

  • The country is well positioned to undertake steps to mitigate climate change.
  • Its capacity to generate electricity from renewable resources is at 80%.
  • It is working towards phasing out the use of offshore oil and gas.
  • Also, the government is working towards investing over $14.5 billion to better its public transport system.
  • Steps are also being made to promote walking and cycling infrastructure.
  • The government anticipates that GDP and household incomes in New Zealand will continue to rise.
  • In turn, this would minimise the cost of adapting to climate change for the citizens.

Current Affairs 2020

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