New Zealand's National Statement to COP24 Climate Summit

  • Hon James Shaw
Climate Change

Mr President, tena koe.
E nga rangatira, tena koutou.

The government that I am a part of, led by the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, has been in office for a little over one year.

In that period of time we have pursued an extensive agenda in relation to climate change action. 

We have held a nationwide consultation on a new emissions reduction target for 2050, consistent with the 1.5 degree temperature threshold, and will soon present legislation to build the legal and policy framework to deliver it. 

We have passed legislation to phase out offshore oil and gas exploration over the next three decades, giving a long-term signal that New Zealand is freeing itself of fossil energy.

We have established a just transition unit in our ministry for economic development to help our people, communities, businesses and our regions make the transformational shift to a low-emissions future.

We have committed to plant one billion trees the next decade.  

We have launched a new green investment fund with an initial capital injection of NZ$100 million to stimulate investment into low emissions projects in New Zealand, and we are expecting the first investments next year.  

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has been named as one of the Planet’s top 25 most responsible asset allocators. 

Internationally, we have increased our climate change funding by 50%, with an allocation of $300 million over the next four years, much to be spent in the Pacific, which is so vulnerable to climate change. 

We are proud to stand with our Pacific partners at COP24. That includes Tokelau, which is part of New Zealand’s implementation of the Paris Agreement and form a valued part of our delegation here in Katowice.

We are proud champions of the Carbon Neutrality Coalition and the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, and we belong to the High Ambition Coalition.

Through the Ministerial Declaration on Carbon Markets, we are committed to developing standards and guidelines for environmental integrity in any future carbon markets.

Our agriculture cooperation is showcased here in Katowice with a major event called Act!on Agriculture, showing how agriculture is part of the solution.  It can deliver the triple win: improving agricultural productivity, reducing emissions, and building resilience to climate change.

It’s been a busy year, but what we take home from the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 degrees is that every year has to be a busy year, for every country. 

If we all do everything within our reach, the Report tells us we still have a hope to restrain warming to 1.5 degrees. 

New Zealand is not going to tell any country, especially our Pacific neighbours, that it should give up hope. 

The reason the New Zealand public supports ambitious climate change action is that they understand that we are not acting alone.  That our contribution, although small in global terms, added to every other contribution, can add up to a stable climate and a safer future. 

That’s why it’s so important that we build a strong, robust rulebook here in Katowice.

It’s about more than being able to manage what we can measure. It’s about being confident that what each of us does will be worth it, because we know that everyone else is acting too.

In closing, I congratulate the COP23 Presidency, our friend and neighbour Fiji, for its leadership over the course of the last year, and especially for introducing the world to the Talanoa Dialogue, which is building understanding and cooperation that can encourage us all to reach further and try harder.

To our gracious host Poland, we commend you for stepping up to lead at a critical juncture in global climate history, and we pledge our full cooperation to make COP24 the moment that brings the Paris Agreement to life.

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.