New Zealand is serious about addressing climate change at home and in the neighbouring Pacific Islands.

What we’re doing at home

We're taking action to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s a balancing act ensuring we meet our international climate change obligations at an acceptable cost to our economy. These are the challenges New Zealand faces:

  • half of our emissions are from farming, but our economy is dependent on agriculture. With the technology currently available, we can't cut our emissions significantly without cutting production, and seriously damaging our economy.  
  • nearly 80% of our electricity is already generated from renewable resources so opportunities for reducing emissions in the energy sector are limited. Converting to 100% renewable energy will take time.

Carbon trading

To help meet our international climate change obligations we've put in place a carbon trading scheme. The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS) was introduced in 2008 and is one of the most comprehensive in the world. The scheme is supported by a number of initiatives to reduce emissions such as building more wind farms and subsidising energy efficient homes.

Domestic policy on climate change is set by the Ministry for the Environment. For a comprehensive view of New Zealand’s approach to climate change at home see the Government’s climate change website (external link).

New Zealand’s climate related support and our work in the Pacific

Support for climate outcomes

New Zealand is committed to supporting developing countries to effectively respond to climate change, with a particular focus on the Pacific region. At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in 2015, Prime Minister Key announced New Zealand would provide $200 million in climate related support over four years, most of which would benefit the Pacific. 

New Zealand delivers the majority of our climate-related support as part of our bilateral assistance managed through the New Zealand Aid programme. Consistent with the aid programme’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan [PDF, 3.4 MB], we primarily deliver our climate-related support as part of activities designed to achieve sustainable, inclusive and resilient development that meet the aspirations and needs of our partner countries. New Zealand has also contributed $3 million to the Green Climate Fund. In announcing our contribution, New Zealand emphasised the Fund needs to deliver on its promise to support practical and effective outcomes in small island developing states, which for us means a focus on the Pacific.

Priority regions and projects

Consistent with the aid programme’s geographic focus on the Pacific, our climate-related assistance will continue to strongly focus on supporting activities in the small island developing states in the Pacific. This is a region where the needs for climate-related assistance are great, and where New Zealand has the relationships and experience to make a practical difference. New Zealand also provides climate-related support bilaterally to Africa, the Caribbean, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) partner countries – mostly focused on investments in geothermal energy and disaster risk management.

New Zealand will continue to prioritise climate-related support to projects where climate outcomes are a co-benefit to achieving sustainable development objectives. New Zealand will be building stronger and more resilient infrastructure, and strengthening disaster preparedness. We will also continue supporting low-carbon economic growth in the Pacific region, including through our significant contribution to improving access to clean, efficient and affordable energy.

Mobilising finance flows at scale

New Zealand’s partnership with the European Union aims to mobilise finance flows to drive the uptake of renewable energy in the Pacific at scale; in pursuit of the renewable energy targets of Pacific Island countries and territories. This is best illustrated by the outcomes of the June 2016 Pacific Energy Conference held in Auckland which saw donors  commit over $1 billion to renewable energy projects in the Pacific out to 2024, including $100 million from New Zealand. Combined with the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit which saw over $900 million of investments over 70 projects, these efforts have now mobilised over $2 billion for renewable energy projects in the Pacific.

Contributing towards developed countries’ collective efforts on climate finance

The above contributes towards developed countries’ collective pledge to mobilise US$100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to support climate change action by developing countries. As part of the Paris Agreement outcome in 2015, developed countries were urged to scale-up their level of support and provide a ‘concrete roadmap’ to achieve the US$100 billion goal. Ahead of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22), developed countries have released the attached roadmap. The Roadmap aims to provide increased predictability and transparency about how the $100 billion goal will be reached, and sets out the range of actions developed countries will take to meet it.