Our climate change targets
New Zealand has made climate change commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Convention), the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol.
Our emission reduction targets are:
- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030
- an unconditional target to reduce our emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2020
- a conditional target to reduce New Zealand’s emissions to between 10% and 20% below our 1990 levels by 2020
- to reduce our emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.
The Government has signalled that it will introduce a Zero Carbon Bill in late 2018 with a bold new emissions reduction target for 2050.
In October 2015 New Zealand finalised our NDC with a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The target is equivalent to an 11% decrease below 1990 levels and represents a progression on our target for the period to 2020 (which was -5%).
New Zealand announced an unconditional target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5% below our 1990 emissions by 2020. This target progresses our obligations under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to cap emissions at 1990 levels. It is managed using the framework of rules applicable to the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period 2013–2020.
At the Durban conference New Zealand pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 50% below their 1990 levels by 2050.
New Zealand made a voluntary pledge at Cancun to reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The Cancun voluntary pledge is outside the Kyoto Protocol. Ninety countries have made voluntary pledges — these countries are responsible for more than 80% of global emissions and make up 90% of the global economy. New Zealand pledged a conditional target of reducing emissions by between 10 and 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, in the context of a comprehensive global agreement. Our pledge has five specified conditions:
- the global agreement sets the world on a pathway to limit temperature rise to not more than 2°C
- developed countries make comparable efforts to those of New Zealand
- advanced and major emitting developing countries take action fully commensurate with their respective capabilities
- there is an effective set of rules for land use, land-use change and forestry
- there is full recourse to a broad and efficient international carbon market.
This target range remains on the table and New Zealand is prepared to consider further targets if these conditions are fully met.
At the Copenhagen conference New Zealand made a commitment to funding Fast-Start Finance for developing countries.
New Zealand signed the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol committed participating developed countries to individual, legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over a first commitment period of 2008 to 2012, or take responsibility for any emissions over these levels.
New Zealand signed the Convention and committed to undertake voluntary actions to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.