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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a May news conference in Queenstown, New Zealand. Photo: Joe Allison/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech Wednesday that the climate crisis was a matter of "life or death," as a blueprint for meeting her government's ambitious green targets was unveiled.

Driving the news: The Climate Commission, an independent body advising the government, outlines in its report what the country needs to do to meet its target for 2050 of producing zero carbon emissions — including reducing biogenic methane emissions by 24% to 47%, with no new household gas connections by 2025.

Why it matters: While the goals are ambitious, what's particularly notable is it's unusual for a nation to have a methane target (the U.S. doesn't have one) — especially a country like NZ, where agriculture is the largest sector of the tradeable economy, contributing to 5.1% of the GDP in the 12 months to September 2020.

  • Per a government statement, New Zealand is the "first country ... to legislate for a price on agricultural emissions and we'e currently building the world’s only farm-level emissions measurement, management and pricing system, which will come into effect in 2025."
  • For the country to meet its methane target, herd sizes would have to decrease by 10% to 15%, according to the report.

Zoom in: The commission provides three pathways for the government to follow to keep within the proposed emission budgets.

  • For biogenic methane, this means cuts of 8% by 2025, 12% by 2030 and 17% by 2035.
  • It also recommends phasing out fossil-fuel-powered vehicles by 2030 to 2035, when almost all cars imported should be electric, according to the report.

Of note: This 2035 phase-out target for sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is in line with several other governments, including California's.

Yes, but: For New Zealand to meet its electric vehicle target, the country would have to increase its market share from the current 1-2% to 50% in the next 10 years, the Guardian notes.

What they're saying: Ardern said in her speech that the report "reminds us that meeting our climate targets is achievable and affordable with existing technology."

  • She said in a separate statement that the commission "makes clear for the first time that delaying action will only make the effort harder and more expensive for the economy in the long run."
  • Ardern noted the report "predicts that not taking action now will cost us 2.3% of GDP by 2050, almost double the cost to our economy of acting now."

What's next: The government will announce its final Emissions Reduction Plan, based on the commission's guidance, by the end of this year.

Go deeper: Prime minister pledges 100% renewable energy generation in New Zealand by 2030

Go deeper

Al Gore's Climate TRACE finds vast undercounts of emissions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A high-tech independent effort to track greenhouse gas emissions from every country, industrial facility and power plant announced its first results on Monday.

Why it matters: Climate TRACE utilizes satellite data, machine learning and artificial intelligence to determine greenhouse gas emissions globally. It aims usher in an era of "radical transparency" and a more enforceable climate agreement by giving nonprofits, governments and the UN actionable intelligence to track and crack down on polluters.

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.