Climate target to come under expert scrutiny

  • Hon James Shaw
Climate Change

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw has asked the independent Climate Change Commission to review New Zealand’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

The purpose of the review is to ensure the NDC is consistent with the goal, unanimously agreed by Parliament last year, of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C above pre‑industrial levels.

“Nearly every government in the world has promised to take part in a global effort to clean up their economies and avoid the worse effects of climate change. New Zealand is once again showing leadership by committing to a review of whether our international target is ambitious enough to help create a better, cleaner, and more prosperous future,” James Shaw said.

The Paris Agreement requires action from all countries. These actions and climate change targets are expected to strengthen over time. 

 “The Paris Agreement was a turning point. It was the moment that virtually every country in the world decided that, if we are to hand our children a safer future, we need to act. As a Government fully committed to solving climate change, it’s only right that we get expert, trusted and independent advice on whether our international targets are consistent with that goal.

“There is a long way to go, but we are starting to bend the curve towards a climate-friendly future in New Zealand. Last year, for example, we unanimously passed the Zero Carbon Act which enshrines the 1.5˚C goal in domestic legislation.

“Now the Climate Change Commission can advise on whether what we have committed to internationally is sufficient. If they conclude that there is more we need to do, the Commission will provide recommendations on how best to align our international targets with the Paris temperature goal. This will ensure we are playing our part globally,” James Shaw said.  

Minister Shaw added that he is expecting the Climate Change Commission to talk with a wide range of people, including iwi/hapū/Māori, industry, technical experts, special interest groups, and sector leaders, to inform its review.

“It’s important that people are given the opportunity to have their say on what needs to be done to leave a safer planet for future generations. If they aren’t already, I hope that other countries will do the same.

Minister Shaw informed an overnight meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States of his request to the Climate Change Commission.

More information

The terms of reference for the Climate Change Commission’s review of the NDC are available here.

Minister Shaw has asked to receive the Commission’s advice alongside its recommendations for the first three emissions budgets required by the Zero Carbon Act.

The Climate Change Commission is an independent, non-political body created by the Zero Carbon Act to monitor and advise governments on how best to meet New Zealand’s climate change targets.

An NDC is a statement of a country’s best efforts to address climate change that it intends to achieve over a set period. New Zealand has committed to an average 30 per cent reduction on 2005 emission levels, over the 2021-2030 period.