The Memorandum of Cooperation was signed in San Francisco during a meeting between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and California governor Gavin Newsom during Ardern’s official visit to the United States.
It formalises cooperation in efforts to reduce emissions by sharing information, experiences and research, and paves the way for New Zealand and California to work together on projects that could benefit the environment.
“As the fifth largest economy in the world, California will be a significant player in the global low-emissions transition and an important partner in our efforts,” Ardern said.
“We each have comparable broad-based plans to emissions reduction, and know it will take every sectors of our economies playing their part. We both aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century.
“Taking action on climate will secure our environment and our economy, so it makes sense to partner with allies in this shared problem.”
Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said the deal would help strengthen New Zealand’s ambitions in the Emissions Reduction Plan released earlier this month.
“International engagement, like this agreement with California, will play a key role in driving domestic decarbonisation and achieving our climate targets.
“Just as New Zealand will need access to new technologies, New Zealand businesses will find new opportunities in a net-zero world and this agreement also unlocks the potential for private sector innovation and collaboration.
“In Aotearoa New Zealand we intend to continue leading by example, but the fight against climate change is a truly global effort, and only through cooperation will we deliver our shared goals and build a safer, better future for everyone,” he said.
Both California and New Zealand are tackling difficult challenges in trying to reduce emissions and environmental impacts from transport and agriculture, Ardern said.
“As a result we both have ambitious policies for zero-emission transportation on land and sea, energy innovation, clean power generation, nature-based solutions and zero waste initiatives.
“The agreement provides a framework for cooperation across a range of sectors including on zero emissions vehicles, energy storage and smart grids, emissions trading schemes, and climate smart agriculture.”
The day’s line-up included Ardern and Newsom witnessing the inking of a partnership to promote the use of new US technology to enhance sustainability and reduce environmental footprints for a group of New Zealand firms and growers.
The partnership was struck between the New Zealand Merino Company’s ZQRX programme – a group of brands and growers that have pledged to give back to the environment – and Actual, a California tech company platform designed to help companies integrate their environmental social and governance goals into their work.
NZ Merino chief executive John Brakenridge said the partnership is part of its efforts “to reimagine the future of conscious consumerism and create products that are ‘made for good’, with the hope of sparking new approaches to agricultural practices worldwide.
The deal includes growers on more than 2 million hectares of land, and would add to “tangible action plans” to benefit the environment by ZQRX brand partners like Smartwool, Allbirds, Icebreaker and Reda, he said.
Ardern said businesses must play their part in work toward reducing climate change, and the partnership efforts with California provides fertile ground to help foster these efforts.
“The signing of this agreement between ZQRX and Actual is exactly the type of innovation we hope to see from the Memorandum of Cooperation, with two organizations from each respective nation, paving the way as change makers and innovators within the sustainability space.”