New Zealand is working with the rest of the world to combat climate change. This page provides information on current activities and initiatives.

UNFCCC COP25, Madrid (December 2019)

New Zealand is attending the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC.  COP25 is being held in Madrid, Spain from 2 - 13 December 2019. 

New Zealand and Fiji are co-hosting the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion to showcase Pacific climate and ocean action. The Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion is a place for discussion, debate and knowledge-sharing on ocean and climate change issues relevant to the Pacific. It is hosting events and activities that amplify the Pacific’s call for ambitious global action, share stories of national resilience planning, and highlight the challenges and opportunities for climate change affected regions in the Pacific. The Polynesian word ‘moana’ – ocean – is widely used throughout the Pacific. It was chosen to emphasise Pacific ownership and pride in taking a piece of their heritage to the global stage. 

In support of a marine-plastic litter-free Pacific Ocean, the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion will promote alternatives to use of polystyrene, plastic bags, cups and water bottles. 

Read about the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion (external link)

Follow us on Twitter (external link) @ClimateEnvoy for regular updates on #COP25 and #NZatCOP25

Our international climate change 2019 negotiating mandate

Why did we need an updated mandate?

Our 2019 negotiation mandate reflects new priorities:

  • we have now set the objective of limiting global average temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius above pre industrial levels at the heart of New Zealand’s climate change policy;
  • negotiation of the Paris Agreement Rulebook is almost complete which leaves most of the existing mandate redundant;
  • there are new issues emerging that we must be able to engage in;
  • Pacific island countries are on the front line of climate change and now more than ever is the time to stand with the Pacific region. Read full details in the Cabinet paper here. Thank you to our stakeholders for providing input into this process.

Who was consulted?

• We sought views from iwi and stakeholders on what New Zealand should be promoting in the negotiating process.

• The main theme of the responses was recognition of the urgent need for ambitious climate action and broad support for the positions proposed.  We will continue to have, on an ongoing basis,  engagement with interested iwi and stakeholders on international climate change matters.

• Ministry for the Environment, MBIE, Ministry of Transport, and Ministry for Primary Industries were all consulted. The Government of Tokelau was also consulted as Tokelau participates in the UNFCCC negotiations as part of the delegation of New Zealand.

What does the mandate say?

The August 2019 Negotiations Mandate Update [CAB-19-MIN-0430] covers six addtional areas:

  1. General principles – provides general guidance about New Zealand’s approach;
  2. Loss and damage – elaborates on our position for addressing loss and damage caused by climate change, supporting the work of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage in fulfilling its mandate;
  3. Oceans – recognises the impacts of climate change on oceans, and the importance of oceans to Pacific Island countries; seeking meaningful action on oceans and climate change, while upholding existing international legal frameworks;
  4. International carbon markets – provides more detail on our support for guidelines for the use of carbon markets that promote environmental integrity; seeking to ensure the environmental integrity of international carbon markets;
  5. The future of the Kyoto Protocol – explicitly proposes to seek closure of the old regime once the Paris Agreement is fully operational; and
  6. Metrics – sets out a new mandate on how emissions from gases like methane are counted.

It also makes amendments to previous issues: including: advocating for outcomes that support the interests of Pacific island countries, supporting a 5-year timeframe for Nationally Determined Contributions; promoting transparency; mechanisms to promote compliance; an effective global stocktake; encouraging other countries to take action on agriculture; advocating for transparency and predictability of climate finance; ensuring a just transition; support for human and indigenous rights; and, the bounds of the negotiators mandate.

COP25: Time for Action Kōrero

The New Zealand Climate Change Ambassador, Kay Harrison, with the support of Simpson Grierson held two kōrero on New Zealand’s international climate change priorities for  COP25 (external link). Negotiators from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ministry for the Environment joined the Ambassador to discuss three priorities for New Zealand at COP25:

• International carbon markets

• Loss and Damage from the impacts of climate change

• New Zealand’s Multilateral Assessment (peer review of our domestic climate action)

Thank you to those that attended. We want to continue to hear your thoughts and views so we can take those into the negotiations with us.

To keep up to date with future events, register your interest to DM-CCD@mfat.govt.nz

Subject to Change – a film on climate change in the Pacific

We are proud supporters of Subject to Change, a documentary on climate change in New Zealand and the Pacific made by final year Massey University film students in 2018.

UN Climate Action Summit and Nature-Based Solutions

23 September 2019, New York

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres' Climate Action Summit in New York in September was held to boost ambition and accelerate action on climate change. New Zealand played a key role, co-leading one of the nine ‘action areas (external link)’ with China.

The UN Climate Action Summit called on countries to raise the global level of ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to galvanise action to keep the 1.5°C temperature goal within reach.

It brought together national and local governments, private sector, civil society, and other international organisations to develop ambitious climate solutions across the nine action areas (external link). These include: a global transition to renewable energy; sustainable and resilient infrastructure and cities; sustainable agriculture and management of forests and oceans; resilience and adaptation to climate impacts; and, public and private sector investment in initiatives that contribute to a net zero global economy.

The action focus of the Summit means the initiatives highlighted need to be implementable, scalable and replicable and have the potential to get the world in line with the commitments of the Paris Agreement.
Read about the Summit here (external link).

Nature-Based Solutions action area

“Nature is one of our most powerful, cost-effective and immediate solutions to the climate crisis. And when we give nature a chance, we have a better shot at improving livelihoods, building resilience and achieving the sustainable development goals. We simply cannot achieve a 1.5°C world without nature. “ Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director UN Environment Programme

New Zealand and China co-led the action area called ‘Nature-Based Solutions’. This looks at how natural systems and our interactions with them can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and support adaptation to climate change. It also considers co-benefits linked to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development (external link), such as poverty reduction, biodiversity, food security and health, and looks at strengthening the connection of people and communities to nature.
Read about the Nature-Based Solutions (external link) action area.

More than 40 countries representing over a third of the world’s population responded to a call from China and New Zealand to increase support for nature-based solutions. More than 200 existing nature-based initiatives from around the world were submitted as part of China and New Zealand’s call to action.
View some of them here (external link).

Collaborating to increase ambition

New Zealand joined five initiatives led by other coalitions that are designed to increase global climate change ambition across a range of areas relevant to New Zealand. These were:
1. Climate actions that advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls
2. Advancing a Just Transition and the Creation of Green Jobs for All for Ambitious Climate Action
3. Decarbonising Shipping: Getting to Zero Coalition
4. Kwon Gesh Pledge (Pledge to Youth)
5. A Call for Action: Raising Ambition for Climate Adaptation and Resilience

Along with the Pacific, New Zealand supported the Secretary-General’s call for removal of harmful fossil fuel subsidies (external link). We also welcomed six new members to the Carbon Neutrality Coalition  (external link) that New Zealand co-champions with the Republic of the Marshall Islands to build ambitious long term strategies to achieve a carbon neutral world.

UNFCCC SB50 (June 2019)

The 50th session of the Subsidiary Bodies of Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC convened on 10–27 June 2019 in Bonn, Germany. The first meeting since the adoption of most of the Paris Agreement rulebook saw transition to implementation of those guidelines.

Read the New Zealand briefing for officials here.

Positive outcomes for New Zealand included agreement to hold an agriculture workshop in New  Zealand; improvement in quality of discussions on carbon markets, and some key compromises on markets rules since last year’s Katowice meeting.
Read the End of Meeting Report  and Technical Annex here.