Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New Zealand’s Ardern Pledges 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 if Her Labour Party Wins Next Month’s Election

Politics
New Zealand’s Ardern Pledges 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 if Her Labour Party Wins Next Month’s Election
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern prepares to speak at a Business NZ Election Conference on Sept. 11, 2020. Hannah Peters / Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 if her party wins re-election in October.


In announcing the new pledge Thursday, Ardern tied the goal to a green recovery from the coronavirus, SBS News reported.

"The COVID-19 economic recovery represents a once in a generation opportunity to reshape New Zealand's energy system to be more renewable, faster, affordable and secure," she said.

Ardern's pledge ups her Labour Party's previous goal of phasing out non-renewable energy by 2035. New Zealand currently produces 84 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, according to the government. However, these only account for 40 percent of the energy actually used in the country, since it still imports coal and oil from outside.

The promise is part of Labour's broader clean energy policy, unveiled Thursday. The plan also includes electrifying transportation and industry, investing in new technologies like green hydrogen, working to make energy more affordable and spending an additional $70 million on a pumped hydro storage solution for dry years.

"We are setting ourselves the new goal of 2030, five years earlier than our previous goal, for us to become one of the few nations in the world with 100 percent renewable electricity," Labour energy spokesperson Megan Woods said in the announcement.

As of 2018, Iceland and Paraguay received 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources, while Costa Rica got 99 percent, Think Progress reported. At the time, New Zealand's South Island was also entirely powered by renewable energy.

Ardern has emerged as a climate leader since taking office in 2017. She vowed to focus on addressing the climate crisis during her first campaign, and announced a plan to plant 100 million trees a year upon taking power. During her tenure, she oversaw the passage of New Zealand's Zero Carbon Bill, which set the country a 2050 deadline for carbon neutrality and committed it to the goals of the Paris agreement.

However, New Zealand's Green Party said that Labour's clean energy plan did not go far enough. While the Green Party plan also set a 2030 deadline for 100 percent renewable energy, it included further measures such as making it cheaper for people to switch to solar and ending permits for fossil fuel extraction.

The National Party, Labour's current opposition, said the party's energy plan would lose jobs and raise electricity costs by as much as 40 percent.

"This is a policy that will cost thousands of jobs and put even more people on to the unemployment benefit," National Party leader Judith Collins told RNZ. However, the party still said it wanted more renewable energy.

Ardern, meanwhile, touted the new renewable energy goal as a job creator.

"Investment in renewable energy is also jobs rich. Our plan will creating new jobs and develop the high skill workforce our future economy needs to thrive," she said in the plan announcement. "Labour's Clean Energy Plan is a critical element of Labour's wider COVID-19 recovery plan that will both prepare New Zealand for the future while boosting jobs and the economy now."

The election, which was delayed because of the coronavirus, is slated to take place Oct. 17, according to The Guardian. Labour is currently favored to win, and may even gain enough seats that it can govern on its own without having to form a coalition. During Ardern's current tenure, Labour governed with New Zealand First, with the Green Party offering support through a Confidence and Supply Agreement.

A replica of a titanosaur. AIZAR RALDES / AFP via Getty Images

New fossils uncovered in Argentina may belong to one of the largest animals to have walked on Earth.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule eliminated a provision mandating that utilities move away from coal. VisionsofAmerica /Joe Sohm / Getty Images

A federal court on Tuesday struck down the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A wild mink in Utah was the first wild animal in the U.S. found with COVID-19. Peter Trimming via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

By Jonathan Runstadler and Kaitlin Sawatzki

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found coronavirus infections in pet cats and dogs and in multiple zoo animals, including big cats and gorillas. These infections have even happened when staff were using personal protective equipment.

Read More Show Less
A mass methane release could begin an irreversible path to full land-ice melt. NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

By Peter Giger

The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.

Read More Show Less
Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.

Read More Show Less