New Zealand Government to Plant 100 Million Trees Yearly
New Zealand's next prime minister Jacinda Ardern has set ambitious environmental policies to confront a warming planet.
"I do anticipate that we will be a government, as I said during the campaign, that will be absolutely focused on the challenge of climate change," said Ardern, whose Labour party has signed a coalition agreement with the New Zealand First party.
"That will include a zero carbon act. That will include an independent climate commission. That will include making sure that we have an all gases, all sectors emissions trading scheme," she added.
Other green initiatives include transitioning the country's power grid to 100 percent
renewable energy, a significant investment in regional rail, and a goal to plant 100 million trees a year through the "Billion Trees Planting Programme."
According to the Associated Press, Arden said the goal of doubling the amount of trees the country plants each year is "absolutely achievable" by using land that was marginal for farming animals.
The Green Party will support the incoming government with a confidence and supply agreement, which includes a major goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
"All three parties share an absolute commitment to addressing climate change," Ardern said.
As Climate Change News noted, New Zealand's 2050 net zero target puts it in the same hat as Sweden, which wants net zero by 2045, and Norway, which is aiming for 2030. Other developed nations such as the U.S, Canada, Mexico, the U.K., France and Germany have committed to cutting emissions but none to net zero.
More than 80 percent of New Zealand's electricity already comes from renewables, primarily through hydropower, geothermal and wind. The AP reported that Ardern wants to ramp it to 100 percent by 2035 in part by investing more in solar, which currently takes up only 0.1 percent of the country's total renewable energy slice.
The 37-year-old—New Zealand's youngest leader in more than 150 years—plans to take the country on a more liberal path after nine years of conservative rule. Other initiatives include increasing the minimum wage, free doctors' visits for all under 14-years-old, and a review and reform of the Reserve Bank Act.
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.
Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.