Jacinda Arden is the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand, and she has declared war on climate change.
From despairing at the pace at which other countries are making changes to fight global warming, to vowing that New Zealand would be a leader, she gave a powerful and inspiring speech in the New Zealand Parliament, which had just passed a historic climate change law. She stated that she hopes that “future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history”. In her stirring speech, she also declared the world is “undeniably” warming and has committed to make the country almost entirely carbon neutral by 2050.
The bill would require all greenhouse gases except methane from animals to be reduced to net zero by 2050. Methane emissions would be reduced by 10 per cent by 2030 and by between about one-quarter and one-half by 2050.
The bill establishes a Climate Change Commission, which will advise the government on how to reach its targets.
The government has promised to plant 1 billion trees over 10 years and ensure that the electricity grid runs entirely from renewable energy by 2035
Jacinda Arden has also introduced a new well-being budget.
Unlike traditional measures of economic growth, like gross domestic product, the system is designed to measure the country’s environmental and societal performance. “GDP may say your country is thriving, but it’s not thriving if it’s also degrading the environment and contributing to CO2 emissions,” said Ardern.
More recently, Ms. Ardern has been praised for her response to the coronavirus pandemic, with some saying she ‘squashed’ the curve. Arden announced in a news conference on April 15th, that she and her cabinet will take a 20% pay cut for the next six months to close the wage gap in New Zealand amid the coronavirus crisis.