New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government is to declare a climate emergency in a symbolic step to increase pressure for action to combat global warming.
The government is to put forward a motion to declare the emergency on Wednesday next week, the government said as parliament reconvened after a general election won by Ardern’s party.
“We’ve always considered climate change to be a huge threat to our region, and it is something we must take immediate action on,” Ardern said, according to state broadcaster TVNZ.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to progress a motion around a climate emergency in parliament in the last term, but now we’re able to,” she added.
Ardern returned to power last month delivering the biggest election victory for her center-left New Zealand Labour Party in half a century as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to COVID-19.
The resounding win allows Ardern’s party to govern alone, although she has joined forces with the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand for the next three-year term.
The newly elected members of parliament were sworn in on Tuesday and resumed work on Wednesday in New Zealand’s most diverse parliament ever. It has several people of ethnic minorities, members of rainbow communities and a large number of women.
In her last term, Ardern’s government passed the Zero Carbon Bill, which sets the framework for net zero emissions by 2050, with cross-party support in parliament.
If a climate emergency is passed, New Zealand would join states such as Canada, France and the UK that have taken the same course to focus efforts on tackling climate change.
Last week, Japanese lawmakers declared a climate emergency and committed to a firm timetable for net-zero emissions.
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