WELLINGTON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand government welcomed the nation's largest company Fonterra's commitment Thursday to speed up its transition away from using coal.
Fonterra, responsible for approximately 30 percent of the world's dairy exports and with revenue exceeding 11.5 billion U.S. dollars, is a member of the Climate Leaders Coalition of 100 major companies and has committed to science-based targets for reducing its emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goal of preventing catastrophic climate change.
"To have this commitment from Fonterra, on top of the recent commitment by them and other primary sector organizations to farm-level emissions pricing, shows that business and government working together can result in serious action to tackle climate change," New Zealand Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said.
"Fonterra is one of the largest users of coal in New Zealand, after the Huntly Power Station, so moving to immediately stop installing new coal boilers and start to convert boilers to renewable energy sources is a great step," Shaw said.
"Fonterra's commitment not to install any new coal boilers or increase its capacity to burn coal shows real leadership and acknowledges that industry has a major role to play in helping New Zealand reap the rewards from becoming a clean, green carbon-neutral economy," New Zealand Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods said.
Process heat is the second-highest source of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions behind transport. Fonterra had previously pledged not to install any new coal boilers by 2030.
"The government has been working with large energy users to encourage them to use less coal or switch to lower-emission energy sources," Woods said.
"We want to see industry use renewable fuels rather than fossil fuels and we'll be consulting on options to encourage energy efficiency and the switch to renewable energy sources later this year," Woods said.