Emissions report shines a light on the road ahead

New Zealand is making progress to drive down its greenhouse gas emissions, but must go further and faster. That was the verdict of Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw as he welcomed the release of New Zealand’s Fourth Biennial Report today.

“Our children and grandchildren will look back on reports like this and rightly tell us that we knew exactly what needed to be done to help solve climate change. What we must thinking about, then, is how we can do things differently; how we create clean, safe and healthy communities for ourselves, our loved ones and future generations,” James Shaw said.

Projections of New Zealand’s net emissions in 2030 are shown by the report to be nearly 10 per cent lower than previous projections in the Third Biennial Report. Welcome though that is, if we are to meet our 2050 zero carbon target much more needs to be done.

“For the first time we can see how the action this government has taken will affect the type of planet we pass on to our children. I am pleased to see that our greenhouse gas emissions are projected to be much lower than what they would have been had we not acted. Clearly we are on the right track, but there is still more we need to do,” James Shaw said.

The decrease in projected emissions can be attributed to the One Billion Trees policy, more sustainable farm management practices, and reduced energy use combined with less carbon-intensive fuels. 

“One way to think about this report is as a useful summary of exactly where we are starting from now that our Zero Carbon Act has passed through Parliament. That historic piece of legislation provides a framework for us all to work within to meet the target of net-zero emissions by 2050. Now we know that we need to go further and faster to make that happen. 

“Our 2050 greenhouse gas emissions goal will not be achieved a single piece of legislation alone. It will happen when government, businesses and local communities around the country take action together. Actions that can add up to a more stable climate for all of us.

“In Government we have achieved a 10 per cent reduction in our projected emissions in just two years, so imagine what’s possible if we continue to take the action our children are demanding of us.

“I want to make sure that future generations can look back and see clearly that reports likes this had an impact on what we did next” James Shaw said.

About the report

The Fourth Biennial Report is an important part of New Zealand’s reporting obligations as a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.

It follows guidelines set by the UNFCCC covering climate change policy decisions and developments up until July 2019.

The Zero Carbon Act sets a new greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2050, establishes the framework for a series of emissions budgets, establishes measures to plan for the impacts of climate change and sets up a new, independent Climate Change Commission to provide expert advice and monitoring, to help successive governments on track to meeting long-term goals.

Read the Fourth Biennial Report here and a snapshot of the report here.