Climate emergency declaration will be matched with long-term action

Today’s climate emergency declaration will be backed with ambitious plans to reduce emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw today.

“Our Government has put New Zealand at the forefront of climate action over the last three years. Declaring a climate emergency and backing this with long-term action to reduce emissions shows that we intend to stay there,” James Shaw said.

Next year, the Government will agree the first three emissions budgets required under the Zero Carbon Act, publish an emissions reduction plan to meet these budgets, consider updating New Zealand’s target under the Paris Agreement, and adopt a plan to meet our international obligations for the period 2021-2030.

Work on each of these is already underway. Earlier this year, the Minister for Climate Change tasked the independent Climate Change Commission with developing advice on whether New Zealand’s international commitment is ambitious enough, alongside advising the Government on what New Zealand’s first three domestic emissions budgets should be.

“The immediate steps we are taking to deliver on the climate emergency declaration will show the Government leading by example. Then, next year, we will act on the Climate Change Commission’s independent, expert advice and set out how we will cut global warming emissions across the rest of the economy.

“This will ensure we are playing our part to cut global emissions in half by 2030, which will be particularly crucial in the run up to the global climate summit in Glasgow next year,” James Shaw said.

The steps that will be taken next year are possible only because last term the Government put in place the policy and institutional architecture necessary to take long-term, meaningful action to cut emissions.

This included passing the Zero Carbon Act, making New Zealand one of only few countries in the world to put the global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels into law. 

“Our priority this term is to put these mechanisms to work to build a zero carbon New Zealand that meets the needs of people, communities and the planet.

“As we accelerate our economic response to COVID-19, this will not only create a better future for our kids and grandkids, but help bring to new economic opportunities in low carbon industries, and create good, well-paid jobs across the country,” James Shaw said.