Details of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's climate change emergency declaration revealed

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants New Zealand to join more than 1800 jurisdictions in 32 countries to declare a climate change emergency to avoid a more than 1.5C rise in global warming. 

The commitment is outlined in the Prime Minister's Notice of Motion which she will read out in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon to officially declare a climate change emergency in New Zealand on behalf of the Government. 

It follows the finding of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that to avoid a more than 1.5C rise in global warming, emissions would need to fall by around 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2023 and reach zero by around 2050.

The motion will "recognise the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on New Zealand and the wellbeing of New Zealanders, on our primary industries, water availability, and public health through flooding, sea level rise, and wildfire". 

It notes that climate change is "one of the greatest challenges of our time". 

The motion wants it recognised that the Government has made "significant progress on meeting the challenge" through signing the Paris Agreement and passing the Zero Carbon Act 2019, which commits New Zealand to reducing emissions. 

Under the Zero Carbon Act emissions budgets will be set by the Climate Change Commission to put the country on a path to net zero emissions by 2050 and emissions priced through the Emissions Trading Scheme. 

Since 1990, New Zealand's gross emissions have increased by 24 percent, according to the Ministry for the Environment. The agriculture and energy sectors contributed the most to emissions at 47.8 percent and 40.5 percent of gross emissions in 2018. 

The motion also wants New Zealand to "seize the economic opportunities" that a clean, green reputation provides, as well as the potential of jobs in the low-carbon economy.

It wants the "alarming trend in species decline and global biodiversity" recognised as a crisis, including the decline in New Zealand's indigenous biodiversity. 

The motion also says the Government will "demonstrate what is possible to other sectors of the economy by reducing the Government's own emissions and becoming a carbon-neutral Government by 2025".