Climate emergency declaration will be matched with long-term action - Shaw

Climate emergency declaration will be matched with long-term action - Shaw

Over the years environmental activists and researchers have been raised concerns regarding future catastrophic events and urged governments to take swift action against climate change.

New Zealand's government has declared a climate change emergency and committed to make its public sector carbon-neutral by 2025, calling on the country to "act with urgency".

Supported by the Green Party and the Maori Party, the motion passed by 76 votes in favor and 43 against.

A group of countries around the world, including Norway, Portugal, Canada, Japan, Australia, Kenya, Ghana, Indonesia, and island nations such as Fiji and Palau, has pledged to implement strict goals by 2025 to achieve healthier oceans.

"In those cases where we do issue declarations, it is often where there is a threat to life, a threat to property, and civil defence emergencies", she told parliament.

The Pacific nation's "School Strike 4 Climate" marches past year put pressure on Ardern to be bolder with her climate policies but her efforts to do so were often hampered by her coalition partners in government, green groups said.

Ms Ardern said in parliament 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 climate emergency motion was passed by NZ's parliament, with the National party in opposition declaring it virtue signalling and a "hollow symbolic gesture".

"It can do harm in making people think that by declaring an emergency something has happened, when it hasn't", National leader Judith Collins told Radio New Zealand.

The steps that will be taken next year are possible only because last term the Government put in place the policy and institutional architecture necessary to take long-term, meaningful action to cut emissions.

The program will be backed by a $200-million ($182 million Cdn) fund to finance replacing coal boilers and help purchase electric or hybrid vehicles.

Almost half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane.

"It's a statement from the Government that this is serious and it requires urgent action, so in that sense it's good, but obviously it's got to be followed up with action".

Ardern has halted all new offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand waters.

He added, though, that work was needed in New Zealand's biggest industries that threat the environment - agriculture and transport.

Greenpeace campaigner Kate Simcock said Ardern's action on climate did not match her rhetoric.

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