New Zealand to decarbonise public buses, import low-emission cars in climate push

Nearly half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - New Zealand will decarbonise its public buses by 2035 and introduce a law this year to import clean cars to cut emissions and fuel costs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday (Jan 28), as New Zealand pushes for a carbon neutral target by 2050.

The government will also mandate lower emitting biofuels across its transport sector and buy only zero-emissions public transport buses from 2025, Ms Ardern said.

"Tackling climate change is a priority for the government and remains a core part of our Covid-19 recovery plan. We can create jobs and economic opportunities while reducing our emissions, so it's win-win for our economy and climate," Ms Ardern said.

Ms Ardern, who returned to power in October delivering the biggest election victory for her centre-left Labour Party in half a century, had called climate change the "nuclear-free moment of our generation".

"This will be an ongoing area of action, but we are moving now to implement key election promises," Ms Ardern said, adding that the government would get more advice from the country's climate commission mid-year.

The government will introduce a law this year to import only low-emission cars to prevent up to 3 million tonnes of emissions by 2040 and will consider an incentive scheme to help make people switch to clean cars.

New Zealand last month declared a climate emergency with a promise that its public sector would become carbon neutral by 2025.

It asked government agencies to measure and report emissions and offset any they cannot cut by 2025.

Nearly half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane, while transport makes up the second highest amount.

Proud of being one of the most pristine and beautiful countries in the world, New Zealand introduced climate change curriculum in its schools last year.

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