Domestic and International Commitments
The response to climate change requires a global effort. For some years, global action on climate change has fallen well short of the scale of the challenge we face. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road; it is time to move.
New Zealand has made domestic and international commitments to contribute to the effort to limit global warming to within 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. Taking action to mitigate global climate change is a significant opportunity for us to avoid the most severe negative impacts of climate change on New Zealanders' living standards.
Since the previous Government signed up to the Paris Agreement in 2016, there has been an increasing consensus in New Zealand on the need for climate action. The private sector is also becoming increasingly aligned with the public sector on the need to decarbonise our economy; leading New Zealand companies have committed to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and pursuing lower-emissions alternatives.
The Government has legislated a number of domestic emissions reduction targets. The Climate Change Response Act requires Aotearoa New Zealand to reduce all greenhouse gases, other than biogenic methane, to net-zero by 2050. It also requires a 24 – 47 percent reduction in gross biogenic methane levels by 2050 compared with 2017 levels (with an interim reduction target of 10 percent by 2030). The Act additionally legislates the setting of emissions budgets that act as ‘stepping-stones’ towards our longer-term targets. These emissions budgets span from now to 2050, with the first emissions budget period covering 2022-2025.
Our response to climate change is a crucial part of Aotearoa New Zealand's role within the global system. The rest of the world associates us with our strong environmental record, with sustainably produced exports, and with the leadership role we have assumed on numerous global issues. To play our part in this global effort, we have made an international commitment under the Paris Agreement through our Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce net emissions by 50 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2030. Our investments through the CERF at Budget 2022 will contribute to meeting this commitment. $840 million has already been allocated and announced as a New Zealand contribution for international climate financing.
With the release of the first Emissions Reduction Plan, the Government has set out a comprehensive strategy as to how we will meet the first emissions budget. This approach includes:
- partnering with businesses to support the development and adoption of low emissions technologies
- helping to develop new markets for sustainably produced goods and services and provide incentives for consumers to choose lower emissions alternatives
- transforming our transportation systems and urban environments to make our cities more liveable
- improving the resilience of our economy to a range of future shocks
- partnering with iwi/Māori to uphold te Tiriti through the transition to a low emissions economy, and
- restoring and protecting nature.