Government leadership on climate change

Government leadership is vitally important as New Zealand transitions to a low-emissions economy, with everyday New Zealanders, businesses and communities also playing a part in reducing our carbon footprint.

On 16 May 2022, the Government released Aotearoa New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan (ERP) which contains targets and actions to reduce emissions.

Emissions budgets

The emissions reduction plan sets out what needs to be done to get us on track to meet our first emissions budget. The budgets are a sinking lid on our emissions and an important way of tracking whether New Zealand is meeting its longer-term targets and obligations in the Paris Agreement.

An emissions budget is the total quantity of emissions permitted during an emissions budget period. Each covers a period of five years – except the first emissions budget, which will cover the period 2022-2025 (four years).

Each emissions budget is a stepping stone to our ultimate target: net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (except biogenic methane*) by 2050.

(*The target for biogenic methane – that is, methane from biological sources which is far harder to reduce – is a 24-47% reduction by 2050).

(megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gasses, Mt CO2-e)
By comparison, across one year (the year ending June 2021), New Zealand released 82.68Mt CO2-e into the atmosphere.

  • 290

    Emissions budget 1 (2022-2025)

  • 305

    Emissions budget 2 (2026–2030)

  • 240

    Emissions budget 3 (2031–2035)

What’s in the plan?

This first plan sets out the actions needed to meet the first emissions budget for 2022–25 and put us on track to meet future emissions budgets. These actions will affect every sector of the economy, including transport, energy and industry. It presents an opportunity to achieve a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy that benefits all New Zealanders.

Emissions reduction plan | Ministry for the Environment(external link)

What are 3 things I can do?

  1. 1

    Choose low-emissions transport

    Getting out of our cars is likely to be the biggest way we can reduce our personal carbon footprint. So, mix up the necessary car travel with low-emissions options such as walking, biking, taking the bus, working from home and car-sharing.

    Explore transport options

  2. 2

    Introduce more plant-based options into your diet

    Emissions from the typical Kiwi diet would drop if we incorporated a meat-free meal a week and now that there are so many plant-based food options out there, it could be time to experiment a bit more.

    Eat low carbon

  3. 3

    Buy better, shop less and shop local

    Understanding more about where your products come from and how to encourage brands you love to prioritise reducing their carbon emissions is a great way to use your consumer power for good.

    Shop sustainably

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