SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Senior officials from California and New Zealand on Friday signed a pledge agreeing to help fight climate change by sharing ideas and best practices, including how to put millions more electric vehicles on the road.
Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke about the deal at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The agreement does not commit either government to specific policies, but defines broad areas of cooperation.
“We have a natural bond and I am so happy that we put pen to paper today to confirm it and continue our cooperation on one of the great challenges of our generation,” Ardern said.
Cars, trucks and other parts of the transport sector are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in California and the second biggest in New Zealand behind agriculture, Ardern said. California is set to ban sales 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, comparing it to when Netflix began to face competition from other streaming services. Ardern said his government would talk with California officials about programs that offer incentives for people to get rid of old, gas-guzzling cars.
New Zealand is home to 5 million people compared to California’s population of 39 million and has a much smaller economy. Both are affected by the effects of climate change. California just recorded its driest winter on record as a drought hits the state. New Zealand’s most recent winter, which runs from June to August, was the warmest on record.
New Zealand is focusing heavily on reducing emissions from its vital agricultural industry. Beef and dairy products dominate the country’s agricultural sector, and dairy products are its top exports. Worldwide, livestock are a major source of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.
California is also home to a major agricultural industry that produces many of the world’s fruits and vegetables. The agreement stipulates that the two governments could engage in joint projects to expand agricultural practices that boost soil health, reduce methane emissions and improve water efficiency.
The memorandum of cooperation was signed by Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and Jeremy Clarke-Watson, Consul General of New Zealand in Los Angeles.
California already has climate-focused agreements with many other countries, including China, Canada and Mexico.
Former California Governor Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, helped launch a coalition of 270 subnational governments, aiming to keep rising emissions below 2 degrees Celsius.
At last year’s global climate change conference in Scotland, California signed a brief joint statement with New Zealand and the Canadian province of Quebec to share information on climate policies, including climate markets. carbon.
Due to Ardern’s high-profile role following the 2019 massacre of 51 worshipers at two Christchurch mosques, the question of gun control also had to arise.
Newsom is lobbying the state legislature to send him a package of gun reform bills following the killing this week of 19 children and two teachers at a 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 have not publicly discussed gun control, although Ardern did address his 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 and quickly,” Ardern said. “Now are they the answer to all our problems with weapons in New Zealand? We think they were needed, and it would make a difference. And so we made them.
Investigators say an 18-year-old gunman who shot and killed 10 shoppers at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, targeting black people, researched the racist Christchurch shooting and also broadcast the attack live as did the Christchurch shooter.
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