Jacinda Ardern leaves mixed record on tackling climate change

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Announcing her surprise resignation last week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country is “in a fundamentally different place on climate change” than it was before she took office in 2017, “with ambitious targets and a plan to achieve them.”

Ardern established a new policy framework for New Zealand to address global warming and is viewed internationally as a climate champion. But at home, there’s a sense that her government failed to deliver fully on its climate promises.

The legacy of the outgoing prime minister on climate is mixed, says Luke Harrington, senior lecturer in climate change at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. The climate policy infrastructure she set up will last generations, he said. But often, “she passed on opportunities to show genuinely transformational leadership.”

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