New Zealand yesterday put forward a raft of carbon-cutting plans, ranging from reduced vehicle usage to making e-bikes more accessible to meet its target of becoming carbon-emission free by 2050.
The proposals — which come ahead of the COP26 climate meeting of world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of this month and are a forerunner to the New Zealand government’s emissions reduction plan expected in May next year — drew immediate criticism.
New Zealand is under pressure to do more to curb carbon emissions, which are increasing, but the discussion document made little mention of agriculture, which contributes 48 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental group Greenpeace said that the document was “full of meaningless waffle” that did little to broach the conversation on reducing agricultural emissions.
Climate advocacy Generation Zero called it a “disgrace” that failed to meet “unambitious emissions budgets, completely ignores agriculture — which makes up half of our emissions.”
However, New Zealand Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said that there was “an entire work program” dealing with the agricultural sector and “we didn’t want to waste people’s time by including things that have either already been consulted on or have other kind of engagement processes elsewhere.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the plans would reduce emissions, and “can also create jobs and new opportunities for Kiwi businesses and our economy.”
The document comes almost two years after New Zealand passed its Zero Carbon Act and a year after the government declared a climate emergency.
Ardern has previously described action on climate change as a matter of “life or death,” but has been called out by Swedish environmental advocate Greta Thunberg, who accused New Zealand of being “one of the world’s worst performers” on emission increases.
“People believe Jacinda Ardern and people like that are climate leaders,” Thunberg said last month. “That just tells you how little people know about the climate crisis. Obviously, the emissions haven’t fallen. It goes without saying that these people are not doing anything.”
Many of the initiatives mentioned in the discussion document are from a New Zealand Climate Change Commission report presented to the government earlier this year, including a 20 percent reduction in the use of vehicles by 2035.
In the same period, New Zealand wants to reduce emissions from transportation fuels by 15 percent, make public transportation cheaper and more accessible, and introduce incentives for those on low incomes to buy electric vehicles.
Other ideas include the development of low-emission fuels, such as bioenergy and hydrogen, eliminating the use of fossil gas, reducing food waste and encouraging composting.
Japan’s Mount Aso erupted yesterday, spewing a giant column of ash thousands of meters into the sky as hikers rushed away from the popular tourist spot. No injuries were immediately reported after the late-morning eruption in southwest Japan, which sent rocks flying in a dramatic blast captured by nearby CCTV cameras. People were warned not to approach the volcano as it ejected hot gas and ash as high as 3,500m, and sent stones tumbling down its grassy slopes. Authorities were checking if any hikers had been trapped or injured, officials told local media, as TV footage showed dozens of vehicles and tour buses
PROMPTING MOCKERY : A cryptic announcement of the pianist’s detention by Beijing police was followed by CCTV commenting on the ‘social morality’ of celebrities Concert pianist Li Yundi (李雲迪), one of China’s most famous musicians, has been detained in Beijing over prostitution allegations, state media said on Thursday, prompting some incredulity and a lot of mockery on Chinese social media. Reuters was unable to immediately reach Li or a representative for comment. Police in the Chinese capital’s Chaoyang District said they had detained a 39-year-old man surnamed Li, along with a 29-year-old female surnamed Chen, after receiving reports from the public of prostitution in a neighborhood they did not identify. Both people confessed to the illegal activity, the police said in a statement on a microblogging platform. The
Sri Lanka has barred a Chinese ship carrying desperately needed organic fertilizer that experts have found to be tainted with harmful bacteria, officials said yesterday. The ban comes as Sri Lanka battles food shortages caused by a currency crisis. Farmers have said that a ban on chemical fertilizer could ruin their crops this year. The office of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the Sri Lankan National Plant Quarantine Services had tested a sample from the unnamed Chinese vessel and “confirmed the presence of organisms, including certain types of harmful bacteria.” The Sri Lankan Commercial High Court has banned any payment to
DEMAND-DRIVEN: The report, produced by Greenpeace and TheTreeMap, said law enforcement has allowed palm oil plantations on UNESCO sites, parks and tiger habitats Almost one-fifth of the land used for Indonesian palm oil plantations is located in the country’s forest conservation areas, despite a law banning such activity, a study by Greenpeace has found. The report, produced by Greenpeace and TheTreeMap, describes a catastrophic failure of law enforcement that has permitted swathes of land — including UNESCO sites, national parks and areas mapped as habitats for orangutans and Sumatran tigers — to be cultivated as palm oil plantations. Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, which is used in many everyday products and foods, from shampoo and lipstick to chocolate and frozen pizzas. However,