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New Zealand government targets net zero

The New Zealand government has passed the ‘Zero Carbon Bill’ amendment to the current Climate Change Response Act 2002, which will see the country become nearly carbon neutral by 2050.

The purpose of the amendment, which will ensure all climate legislation is under one act, is to provide a framework by which New Zealand can develop and implement clear and stable climate change policies that contribute to the global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The Bill sets a new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target to reduce all GHGs (except biogenic methane) to net zero by 2050; and to cut emissions of biogenic methane to 10% below 2017 levels by 2030, and within the range of 24–47% below 2017 levels by 2050.

It will also establish a system of a series of emissions budgets to act as stepping stones towards the long-term target and will require the government to develop and implement policies for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

A new, independent Climate Change Commission will also be established to provide expert advice and monitoring to help keep successive New Zealand governments on track to meeting long-term goals.

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