New Zealand is accelerating the transition to electric mobility in its fight against emissions

New Zealand will accelerate the imposition of electric vehicles and explore hydrogen as an alternative energy source as it seeks to eliminate fossil fuels and contribute to mitigating global warming, Bloomberg reports.

Announcing its first emission reduction plan in Wellington on Monday, the government said it would initially allocate $ 2.9 billion ($ 1.8 billion) over four years to fund many measures – from incentives to purchasing electric cars to phase out coal-fired boilers, and helping farmers reduce methane emissions from livestock.

“This is an important day in our transition to a low-emission future,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We have all seen recent reports of sea-level rise and its impact here in New Zealand. “We cannot ignore the problem of climate change until it is too late to solve it,” she warned.

Although it contributes only a small portion of global greenhouse gas emissions, the government says New Zealand must play its part in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The measures, announced Monday, also aim to protect the country’s environment and keep it clean and green, which it promotes to attract tourists.

“In New Zealand, our environment is our economy,” said Finance Minister Grant Robertson. “Our clean, green brand has never been more important,” he added.

The government will step up efforts to decarbonize transport, aiming for at least 30% of the country’s car fleet to be electric by 2035.

Authorities will continue to provide discounts on the purchase of clean vehicles to encourage the introduction of low-emission cars, invest in charging infrastructure, and help low- and middle-income households buy an electric car if they throw away their old conventional cars.

The government will also test an electric car leasing scheme.

The ultimate goal with a horizon of 2035 is to decarbonize the entire public transport fleet.

The focus is also on reducing landfill waste, with most households having access to food waste collection by 2030.

The government will also gradually phase out the use of coal-fired boilers by 2037.

Methane emissions

New Zealand’s economy relies on agriculture, especially livestock, where methane emissions are a major contributor to global warming. The country, which is the largest exporter of dairy products in the world, has more than 10 million cows and almost 27 million sheep.

Of New Zealand’s $ 2.9 billion in allocated expenditure, New Zealand’s $ 710 million is earmarked for reducing farm emissions, expanding forestry, reducing carbon, and producing alternative green fuels.

The government, which plans to start charging for agricultural emissions by 2025, has said it will set up a Climate Action Center on Agricultural Emissions to speed up research and development of products that help reduce the sector’s greenhouse gases.

Greenpeace described the initiative as “ridiculous”, saying it was failing to adequately deal with the “dirty big cow in the room”.

“Intensive milk production is the number one cause of climate pollution in Aotearoa (New Zealand’s Maori name), so it is shocking to see that the plan to reduce emissions does not include a policy to reduce the number of cows. or phase out emissions-boosting synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, ”said Greenpeace’s Christine Rose.

Instead, the government relies on “unproven technical adjustments to agricultural emissions,” she added.

The government has said it will invest in planting more trees to boost carbon sequestration and will work with large heat consumers to help them switch to renewables.

Hydrogen strategy

Funds will also be allocated to develop a comprehensive energy strategy, including a hydrogen roadmap and the establishment of a regulatory framework for offshore wind energy.

“Hydrogen as a fuel could enable the decarbonization of difficult to electrify sectors such as heavy goods transport and the steel industry,” the authorities said, adding: “The roadmap will provide the nascent green hydrogen sector with additional clarity on how the government will support the road to an economically sustainable hydrogen market ‘.

The initiatives will be funded by the $ 4.5 billion Climate Emergency Response Fund, backed by revenues from the national emissions trading scheme. The government has set targets for reducing greenhouse gases over the next 14 years as part of a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

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