New Zealand has joined 170 nations in signing the Paris Agreement. It was signed on 21 April (Earth Day) at a ceremony at the United Nations in New York.
The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations for Climate Change (UNFCCC). It deals with greenhouse gases emissions.
New Zealand’s Climate Minister, Paula Bennett, is hopeful it will mean real change. However, Greenpeace is doubtful.
Speaking from New York, she said while New Zealand’s target was ambitious compared to others, she was confident it would reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
But Greenpeace climate campaigner Simon Boxer said it was doubtful the Paris Agreement would result in any real action being taken in the global fight against carbon emissions.
“If the governments aren’t prepared to turn these kinds of agreements into binding emission reductions back in the country, and actually shut things down like, for example, we need to see the Huntly coal power station stop operating now.”
What are greenhouse gases?
The greenhouse effect is a warming of Earth’s surface and the air above it. It is caused by gases in the air that trap energy from the sun. These heat-trapping gases are called greenhouse gases. The most common greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane.