Even greener New Zealand

100 mil­lion trees an­nu­ally and 100% re­new­able en­ergy are planned.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Ecowatch -

THE world’s youngest (na­tional) fe­male leader, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, is hop­ing to make her na­tion greener by plant­ing 100 mil­lion trees each year, en­sur­ing elec­tric­ity comes en­tirely from re­new­able en­ergy, and spend­ing more money on cy­cle paths and rail trans­port.

Jacinda Ardern, who took over as Prime Min­is­ter last week, said, “Cli­mate change... will sit at the heart of what this gov­ern­ment does.”

Ardern’s plan is for New Zealand to re­duce its net green­house gas emis­sions to zero by the year 2050, ac­cord­ing to an AP re­port.

Some of the tar­gets will re­quire only small changes. New Zealand al­ready gen­er­ates about 85% of its elec­tric­ity from re­new­able sources in­clud­ing hy­dro­elec­tric, geo­ther­mal and wind. Ardern plans to in­crease that to 100% by 2035, in part by in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether so­lar pan­els can be used atop schools.

She said the coun­try will need to dou­ble the amount of trees it plants each year, a goal she said was “ab­so­lutely achiev­able” by us­ing land that was mar­ginal for farm­ing an­i­mals. Her plans also call for the gov­ern­ment’s ve­hi­cle fleet to be green within a decade.

Cli­mate Home News re­ports that Ardern wants to im­ple­ment a zero car­bon law and an in­de­pen­dent cli­mate com­mis­sion (which will cover all green­house gas emis­sions and trad­ing schemes to off­set them).

The Green party, who will sup­port the coali­tion in par­lia­ment, al­ready backs the pro­posed 2050 net zero emis­sions tar­get.

The 2050 tar­get would put New Zealand in the van­guard of cli­mate ac­tion. Swe­den aims for net zero emis­sions by 2045 while Nor­way has bid to be car­bon neu­tral by 2030. Both na­tions will rely on off­set­ting resid­ual emis­sions by buy­ing in­ter­na­tional car­bon cred­its and plant­ing trees.

The US, Canada, Mex­ico, UK, France, Ger­many and the EU have all com­mit­ted to deep emis­sions cuts by the mid­dle of the cen­tury, but not net zero.

To achieve the cuts, the New Zealand coali­tion part­ners both back the es­tab­lish­ment of a UK-style car­bon bud­get sys­tem over­seen by an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion. But not ev­ery­body is happy with the plans, re­ports AP. Many farm­ers are wor­ried they will be re­quired to pay more if they are ab­sorbed into an emis­sions trad­ing scheme.

“There is con­cern that if this should hap­pen, New Zealand will be­come less com­pet­i­tive with other food-pro­duc­ing na­tions,” said Katie Milne, the pres­i­dent of ad­vo­cacy group Fed­er­ated Farm­ers.

Ardern has also out­lined a plan to spend 1 bil­lion New Zealand dol­lars (RM2.93bil) a year on the coun­try’s smaller towns and re­gions to im­prove rail and other in­fra­struc­ture.

New Zealand has lots of geo­ther­mal ac­tiv­ity (like here at Whakare­warewa) and some of it has been har­nessed to re­duce the use of fos­sil fu­els. — Te Puia

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s new Prime Min­is­ter, places the en­vi­ron­ment as a top pri­orty. – Bloomberg

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