The government of New Zealand presented a climate change project on Wednesday to make the country carbon-neutral by 2050, but that partially excludes the agricultural sector vital to the country.
"The Government is taking historic action on climate change today, the biggest challenge facing the international community and New Zealand," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
In the presentation of the legislation, the labor leader stressed that ignoring the issue would be "negligence" and "a burden" for future generations.
This proposal will allow New Zealand to contribute to the global planetary goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius from levels prior to the period of the industrial revolution.
The measures include different targets for methane from livestock rearing, and for all other greenhouse gas emissions caused by transport, industries and electricity generation.
"Agriculture is very important to New Zealand, but it should also be part of the solution," said Ardern, although the legislation does not clearly explain how carbon neutrality can be achieved by 2050, triggering environmental criticism.
Livestock-generated methane accounts for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, where agriculture is a key activity for the New Zealand economy, especially for exports.
The document, now published, provides for the creation of a Climate Change Commission to help New Zealand achieve this goal through the elaboration of five-year "emission budgets".
The project of the center-left prime minister comes to realize a promise of a campaign of the Government, elected 18 months ago. The Executive has already promised to plant one billion trees in ten years and ensure that the grid runs entirely on renewable energy by 2035.
The bill, which should be voted on by Parliament by the end of the year, foresees a 10% reduction in methane production by 2024.
New Zealand's Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said the government "took into account scientific data" and the concerns of industrialists to determine "a specific target for methane" farming.
The farmers' federation has already criticized the proposal. "Let's be clear, the only way to achieve the proposed objectives is to reduce production. There are no magical technologies, "said Vice President Andrew Hoggard.
"At the moment, we have no idea how to achieve the proposed reductions without cutting down a significant number of livestock," he said.
The Government of Ardern has stated that the legislation is "to be fulfilled," but Greenpeace New Zealand has already stated that the document does not specify how to achieve the objectives, which makes "legislation inoperative"
"We are faced with ambitious legislation to which the teeth have been torn," said the director general of the non-governmental environmental organization. "He barks but does not bite."