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New Zealand commits to zero out carbon emissions by 2050

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New Zealand’s new prime minister Jacinda Ardern has committed the country to erasing its carbon footprint by the middle of the century.

The Labour leader, who brokered a coalition with the populist right New Zealand First party, said that addressing climate change would be among her top priorities, ClimateChangeNews reports.

Ardern, who becomes the world’s youngest female leader, said: “I do anticipate that we will be a government, as I said during the campaign, that will be absolutely focused on the challenge of climate change.”

She laid out three policy areas that she said Labour had carried through the coalition negotiations with NZ First leader Winston Peters.

“That will include a zero carbon act. That will include an independent climate commission. That will include making sure that we have an all gases, all sectors emissions trading scheme,” said Ardern.

The Green party, who will support the coalition in parliament with a confidence and supply agreement, already back the proposed 2050 net zero emissions target.

NZ First did not carry the target as a policy into the election, but earlier this year during a parliamentary debate MP Denis O’Rourke said “I believe that’s the target we should set”. O’Rourke, however, was not reelected at the 23 September election.

“All three parties share an absolute commitment to addressing climate change,” said Ardern.

The 2050 target would put New Zealand in the vanguard of climate action. Sweden aims for net zero emissions by 2045. Norway has bid to be carbon neutral by 2030. Both nations will rely on offsetting residual emissions by buying international carbon credits and planting trees.