Govt sets -50% by 2050 emissions reduction target

  • Nick Smith
Climate Change Issues

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith today announced the Government’s long-term target of a 50% reduction in New Zealand greenhouse gases emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.

“Setting a long-term target provides long-term certainty about where domestic climate change policy is headed so we can plan and invest accordingly. The target is being gazetted today under the Climate Change Response Act 2002 and delivers upon National’s 2008 election promise,” Dr Smith said.

Speaking at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute Forum in Wellington, Dr Smith said that feedback from a recent public consultation supported setting a long-term emissions reduction target.

“A wide variety of submissions were received – from those who expressed scepticism about climate change, to those who wanted a much stronger target,” Dr Smith said. “We believe a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, or -50 by 50, strikes the right balance. It has New Zealand doing our fair share and is comparable with the targets set by our major trading partners.

“Halving New Zealand’s emissions is going to require major changes in our economy over the next 40 years. The Government’s existing programme includes the emissions trading scheme, support for home insulation, solar water heating systems, biofuels, electric cars and electrification of Auckland rail, and major research initiatives such as the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research. The Advisory Group on Green Growth established in January is about identifying the additional programmes to help achieve the reductions.

“This target will need to be regularly reviewed to take into account the latest science, development of new technologies, and progress by other countries. New Zealand’s contribution to global emissions is very small and our objective should be neither to lead nor lag but do our fair share.”