New Zealand joins 32 other countries in declaring a climate emergency | Totally Vegan Buzz

New Zealand joins 32 other countries in declaring a climate emergency

New Zealand joins 32 other countries in declaring a climate emergency
Image: Alexandros Michailidis /

The Prime Minister has called climate change “one of the greatest challenges of our time”.

 This week, New Zealand formally acknowledged the global crisis by declaring a climate emergency.

The nation joins 32 other countries including Japan, Canada, France and Britain that have already declared a climate crisis.

The government put forward a motion to declare the emergency as the parliament reconvened after a general election won by Ardern’s party.

‘Need to act now’

Calling climate change “one of the greatest challenges of our time”, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the declaration was an acknowledgment of the burden the next generation would encounter.

She said: “This declaration is an acknowledgement of the next generation. An acknowledgement of the burden that they will carry if we do not get this right and do not take action now.

“It is up to us to make sure we demonstrate a plan for action, and a reason for hope.”

Yet purely symbolic

However, the declaration comes without any new monetary commitment or statutory powers, making the move purely symbolic.

Addressing the parliament, she did promise to back up the declaration with ongoing action in the coming future.

 Ardern returned to power in October after clinching the biggest election victory for her centre-left Labour Party.

Her past efforts include passing the Zero Carbon Bill, which outlines the framework for net zero emissions by 2050, and committing to 100 % renewable energy by 2030.

She also enacted bans on all new offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand waters.

‘Politics over practical solutions’

While a majority of the lawmakers voted in favour of the declaration, critics state that Ardern’s government has lagged behind after campaigning strongly on environmental issues.

New Zealand’s main opposition National Party voted against the climate emergency declaration, calling it nothing but “virtue signalling”.

“Today’s performance from the government was a triumph of politics over practical solutions, and of slogans over substance,” David Seymour, another opposing lawmaker, said.

More than just words

Although Greenpeace welcomed the declaration, it challenged the government to follow through with policy and action.

“For Jacinda Arderns climate emergency declaration to be more than just words, that means tackling New Zealands largest source of climate pollution: agriculture,” said Greenpeace agriculture and climate campaigner Kate Simcock.

“When the house is on fire, there’s no point hitting the alarm without fighting the fire as well,” she added.

“Fighting the fire in New Zealand means tackling agricultural emissions.”

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