New Zealand has today announced its ambitious plans to cut it’s carbon emission; spearheading the way in moving from coal usage to renewable energy. The project is the largest one ever conducted by the New Zealand government to date. It would be the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road.
This will equate to approximately an 800,000-tonne reduction in annual emissions. The project, based at the Glenbrook steel plant, will install a $300 million dollar electric-powered arc furnace which will be primarily powered by wind, hydro and geothermal energy. New Zealand Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, discusses the sheer size of the project, stating it “demonstrates how serious the government is about reducing New Zealand’s emissions as fast as possible.”
With the plan due to commence by 2026 – 2027, it’s reduction in carbon emission will be more than all other previous government funded emission reduction projects in the past. Experts have warned that the country’s original plan to offset their carbon pollution by planting trees posed a threat to their target of net zero emissions by 2050. The original plan did not have sustainable longevity and cannot offer a permanent solution to carbon capture, as forests can be destroyed through fire or hazardous weather. Seeing their goal potentially being out of reach, the government have taken these much-needed steps to ensure they are responsibly working towards a greener future.
This bold move by the New Zealand government will hopefully set an example for governments around the world. Whilst their total contribution to emissions is small, New Zealanders produce greenhouse gases equivalent to the heating power of 16.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide – this is more than double the per capita rate of the UK.
This raises the question – if New Zealand has the capability to drastically reduce their emissions, then countries with larger footprints and larger economies surely have the power to follow suit? With 5.22t per capita of carbon emissions in the UK, implementing radical projects like New Zealand could be the key to reaching our target of net zero emissions by 2050.