WELLINGTON (REUTERS) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a new NZ$100 million (S$94.6 million) green investment fund on Wednesday (Dec 5), aimed at boosting private-sector participation in a campaign to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050.
"This new investment fund is an important component of New Zealand's plan to build a clean, sustainable, low-carbon economy that has both lower emissions and profitable enterprises," Ms Ardern said in an e-mailed statement.
Her centre-left government, which also shares a governing support arrangement with the Green Party, has made tackling climate change one of its top priorities.
The 2050 target would put New Zealand in the vanguard of climate change with Norway, which is aiming for net zero emission by 2030, and Sweden, by 2045, both by buying international carbon credits and planting trees.
However, New Zealand faces a number of challenges in reaching the 2050 target, including reliability issues when switching the last roughly 20 per cent of the power that is produced from fossil fuels to renewable sources.
The economy also relies heavily on agriculture, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions globally.
The green fund would likely target electric vehicles, manufacturing, farming practices and energy-efficient commercial buildings, Ms Ardern's statement said.
The government announced in April that it was halting new offshore oil and gas exploration permits as part of efforts to convert the nation to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2035.
The measure was criticised by some businesses, which said they were not given enough warning, and that the move would scare off investors.