Emissions Reduction Plan must result in action

The Emissions Reduction Plan needs to drive action on climate change in Aotearoa New Zealand, He Pou a Rangi Chair Rod Carr says.

16 May 2022

The Emissions Reduction Plan needs to drive action on climate change in Aotearoa New Zealand, He Pou a Rangi Chair Rod Carr says.

“Aotearoa New Zealand needs to be moving towards a low emissions and climate resilient future.” 

“The release of the first emissions reduction plan is an important step on the country’s path to reducing its emissions and playing its part in the global effort to address climate change. It should give more certainty to businesses, investors and communities. 

“We also need to make sure the actions we take now to reduce our emissions don’t get in the way of what we need to do to prepare for these increasing impacts. 

“For decades, Aotearoa New Zealand failed to bring down its emissions. We are already seeing the impact of climate change here and with each passing year the need to take real action on climate change has become more urgent.” 

He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission said the Government needed to make sure its plan was backed up with action on meeting Aotearoa New Zealand’s first emissions budget, with Government working alongside Iwi/Māori, business, communities and local government. 

“Our emissions are changing the climate and damaging the planet. We need to reduce emissions to net zero for long-lived gases by 2050 and deliver a 24% to 47% reduction in biogenic methane by 2050. This first emissions budget and the emissions reduction plan to deliver it are a step towards this long-term target. 

“We will be reviewing the plan in detail and monitoring the Government's progress to ensure it delivers. A good plan will show urgency, decisiveness, cohesion, and a commitment to collaboration. 

“The transition will impact some communities, industries and regions more than others. The Government needs to work with the people who are most impacted to ensure the transition is achievable, affordable and socially acceptable. 

“The policies in the emissions reduction plan need to be supported by adequate funding in the Budget so they can be successful.” 

When He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission delivered Ināia tonu nei, our first advice to Government, it presented ambitious, achievable, affordable and socially acceptable paths for Aotearoa to meet its climate targets and contribute to global efforts to address climate change, Dr Carr says. 

“As part of assessing the emissions reduction plan, we will be looking at the fine print of how the Government intends to achieve change.

I wrote to Ministers last month to remind them of the Commission’s recommendations and the research and evidence supporting our advice. This includes: a cohesive strategy for forestry; reducing emissions from waste; decarbonising industry; reducing light vehicle emissions; decarbonising heavy transport; pricing agricultural emissions; and an energy strategy that significantly reduces emissions. This must be done in a way that complies with Te Tiriti and does not further compound and historic grievances and disadvantage iwi/Māori.”

“If more action or a different approach is needed, then we will be asking for it,” Dr Carr says.

He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission’s role 

The Commission will be assessing the adequacy of the Government’s emissions reduction plan and monitoring progress to address climate change.  This process will provide more transparency for businesses, communities and Iwi/Māori about the progress being made towards a climate resilient, low emissions Aotearoa. 

We will be looking to see if Aotearoa is making progress on achieving the emissions budget, whether it is on track for meeting the 2050 target, and assessing whether the emissions reduction plan is bringing about the change needed. As part of this, the Commission can also suggest ideas for emissions reductions that respond to new opportunities.  

Every year from 2024 onwards, we will be reporting on the Government’s progress in reducing emissions.  

By December 2023, the Commission will be providing advice for the emissions reduction plan spanning the second emissions budget period (2026 - 2030).  

The following December (2024), the Commission will give advice on the fourth emissions budget (2036 – 2040). This advice will sit alongside the Commission’s review of the 2050 target and advice on whether, and if so how, the 2050 target should be amended to include emissions from international shipping and aviation. This advice is also due by December 2024.


Media contact: Marcus Stickley (021 227 5247) or email media@climatecommission.govt.nz