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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday declared a climate emergency in the country and assured its public sector would become carbon neutral by 2025.
The symbolic move comes in the wake of increasing human and economic impacts on the environment and the necessary actions required to protect the global commons for the future.
Speaking in the parliament, Ardern said the signs of climate change were clear and New Zealand had to acknowledge the threat. She called climate change the "nuclear-free moment of our generation".
The declaration was based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's findings. The findings suggested that to avoid more than 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global warming, there should be a decrease in emissions by around 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2023 and reach zero by 2050.
Ardern said the declaration was an acknowledgement of the burden the future generation faces. "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," Ardern told the lawmakers.
Lawmakers voted 74-43 in favour of the motion. The main opposition party, National Party voted against it, saying it was nothing but 'virtue signalling'.
With this, New Zealand joined 32 other countries that have declared climate emergency, including Britain, Canada, Ireland, France and Japan. Britain's parliament was the first to declare a climate emergency, passing the motion in May last year, followed by Ireland.
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