SAN FRANCISCO – Senior officials from California and New Zealand on Friday signed a pledge to help fight climate change by sharing ideas and best practices, including how to get millions more electric vehicles on the road.
Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discussed the agreement in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The agreement does not commit either government to any particular policy, but outlines broad areas of cooperation.
“We have a natural connection and I am delighted that we are writing today to confirm that and continue our collaboration on one of the great challenges of our generation,” Ardern said.
Cars, trucks and other parts of the transportation sector are California’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and New Zealand’s second largest after agriculture, Ardern said. California plans to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035. New Zealand wants 30% of all car sales to be electric by this year.
Newsom said he expects competition to grow in the electric vehicle market, which Tesla currently dominates, likening it to when Netflix first started facing competition from other streaming services.
New Zealand is home to 5 million people compared to California’s population of 39 million and has a much smaller economy. Ardern said her government will be talking to California officials about programs that provide incentives for people to ditch older, gas-guzzling cars.
New Zealand has a strong focus on reducing emissions from its important agricultural sector.
California is also home to a large agricultural industry that produces many of the world’s fruits and vegetables. The agreement says the two governments can engage in joint projects to expand farming practices that improve soil health, reduce methane emissions and increase water efficiency.
The cooperation agreement was signed by Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and Jeremy Clarke-Watson, New Zealand’s Consul General in Los Angeles.
California already has climate-related agreements with many other nations, including China, Canada and Mexico.
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, helped form a coalition of 270 subnational governments aimed at keeping emissions growth below 2 degrees Celsius.
At last year’s global climate conference in Scotland, California signed a brief joint statement with New Zealand and the Canadian province of Quebec to share information on climate policy, including carbon markets.
Due to Ardern’s high-profile role following the 2019 massacre of 51 worshipers at two Christchurch mosques, the issue of gun control should also arise.
Newsom is pressuring the state legislature to send him a package of gun reform bills after 19 children and two teachers were killed this week Texas Elementary School.
Less than a month after the Christchurch shootings, the New Zealand Parliament voted to ban most automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
Newsom and Ardern did not publicly discuss gun control, although Ardern addressed her country’s actions on the issue in response to a question about “shared values” between California and New Zealand.
“It was clear that the New Zealand public expected their politicians to find solutions quickly,” Ardern said. “Now are they the answer to all our gun problems in New Zealand? No, but these were practical steps we believe were necessary and would make a difference. And that’s how we made them.”
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https://www.local10.com/business/2022/05/27/california-new-zealand-announce-climate-change-partnership/ California and New Zealand announce partnership on climate change