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New Zealand, California Announce Climate Change Partnership

California and New Zealand’s top leaders signed a pledge on Friday committing to share ideas and best practices in the fight against climate change, including how to put millions more electric vehicles on the road.

At San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discussed the agreement. It does not bind any administration to specific policies, but it does lay out broad areas for collaboration.

Cars, trucks, and other forms of transportation are the major source of greenhouse gas emissions in California, and the second highest in New Zealand, behind agriculture, according to Ardern. California is planning to phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. By that year, New Zealand wants 30% of all automobile sales to be electric.

We have a natural connection and I’m so pleased we’ve put pen to paper today to confirm that and continue our cooperation on one of the great challenges from our generation, Ardern said.

Newsom predicted that competition in the electric vehicle sector, which Tesla presently dominates, will increase, comparing it to when Netflix faced competition from other streaming providers. Ardern stated that her administration will speak with officials in California about schemes that provide incentives for people to get rid of older, gas-guzzling vehicles.

New Zealand has a population of 5 million people, compared to 39 million in California, and a significantly smaller economy. Climate change is having an impact on each of them. In the middle of a drought, California just had its driest winter on record. The most recent winter in New Zealand, which lasted from June to August, was the hottest on record.

New Zealand is putting a lot of effort into lowering emissions from its critical agriculture sector. The nation’s farming economy is dominated by beef and dairy, and milk products are the country’s major export. Cattle are a major source of methane emissions, a strong greenhouse gas, all throughout the world.

California also has a thriving agriculture economy that generates a large portion of the world’s fruits and vegetables.

According to the agreement, the two governments may collaborate on projects to improve soil health, reduce methane emissions, and increase water efficiency.

Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and Jeremy Clarke-Watson, New Zealand’s consul-general in Los Angeles, signed the memorandum of collaboration.

Many other countries, including China, Canada, and Mexico, have previously signed climate-related accords with California.

Former California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, was responsible for the establishment of a coalition of 270 subnational governments aimed at keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

California signed a brief joint declaration with New Zealand and the Canadian province of Quebec to share information on climate policy, including carbon markets, at last year’s global climate change summit in Scotland.

The issue of gun restriction was also likely to come up because of Ardern’s high-profile role in the aftermath of the 2019 killing of 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch.

Following the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school this week, Newsom is urging the state legislature to bring him a package of gun reform laws.

New Zealand’s parliament voted less than a month after the Christchurch shootings to make most automatic and semi-automatic guns illegal.

Although Ardern mentioned her country’s activities on the topic in response to a query about “shared values” between California and New Zealand, Newsom and Ardern did not discuss gun control in public.

It was clear that the New Zealand public expected its politicians to find solutions and quickly, Ardern said. Now are they the answer to all of our issues as they relate to weapons in New Zealand? No, but they were practical steps that we believe were necessary, and that would make a difference. And so we made them.

Investigators say an 18-year-old gunman who shot and killed 10 shoppers at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, targeting Black people, had researched the racist Christchurch shooting and also livestreamed the attack as the Christchurch shooter did.

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