Wellington: New Zealand introduced legislation on Wednesday to make the South Pacific nation carbon neutral by 2050, although greenhouse gas emissions from the economically vital agricultural sector will not have to meet the commitment.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the bill would help New Zealand contribute to a goal of limiting average global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.
"The government is today delivering landmark action on climate change -– the biggest challenge facing the international community and New Zealand," she said.
The centre-left leader said avoiding the issue would be "gross negligence" and burden future generations.
But the legislation does not explicitly outline how the economy will become carbon neutral by 2050, sparking criticism from environmental campaigners.
Instead, it establishes an independent Climate Change Commission, which is charged with helping New Zealand reach the goal by setting five-yearly "emissions budgets".
"That is why we have listened to the science and also heard the industry and created a specific target for biogenic methane."
But the Farmers Federation said even that target meant the government had "given up on pastoral farming".
"Let's be clear, the only way to achieve reductions of that level, is to cut production -- there are no magic technologies out there waiting for us to implement," vice-president Andrew Hoggard said.