Preparing advice on emissions budgets

Every five years, we produce independent expert advice on the system of emissions budgets to step Aotearoa New Zealand towards its 2050 emissions reductions target. 

Our role is to provide independent evidence-based advice to enable the government of the day to set emissions budgets. We don’t set the budgets ourselves.

Our 2021 report Ināia tonu nei provided this advice for emissions budgets one, two and three – covering the period 2022-2035.

We advise the Minister for Climate Change on: 

  • The recommended quantity of emissions in the next budget period, stating the amount by which emissions of each greenhouse gas should be reduced to meet the relevant emissions budget and the 2050 target.
  • The rules that will apply to measure progress towards meeting the emissions budget and the 2050 target.
  • How the emissions budget, and the 2050 target, may realistically be met, including by pricing and policy methods.
  • The proportions of an emissions budget that are to be met by domestic emissions reductions and domestic removals alongside the appropriate limit on offshore mitigation that may be used to meet an emissions budget.

The Commission may recommend that already notified budgets be revised if there have been changes to the way emissions are measured or reported, or if significant changes have affected the considerations (contained in section 5ZC of the Climate Change Response Act) on which the emissions budget was originally based.

Our next advice: Call for evidence

Emissions budgets one, two, and three, covering the period 2022-2035, have already been set by the Government.

The Commission’s next advice will recommend the level of the fourth budget, covering the period 2036-2040.

At the same time, we will also assess if there is a need to revise emissions budgets one, two, and three, which we previously advised on in our 2021 report Ināia tonu nei.

We are currently calling for evidence to inform our next emissions budget advice. The call for evidence closes at 11:59pm Monday 31 July 2023. 

Our final advice is due to the Minister of Climate Change by 31 December 2024.

You can learn more or submit your evidence through our consultation hub:

Have Your Say | Climate Change Commission

What are emissions budgets?

An emissions budget is the quantity of emissions that will be permitted in each five-year emissions budget period. It includes all the greenhouse gases listed in the Climate Change Response Act, expressed as a net amount of carbon dioxide equivalent (calculated using GWP100).  Emissions budgets are set with a view to meeting the 2050 emissions reduction target and contributing to the global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Emissions budgets one, two, and three, covering the period 2022-2035, have already been set by the Government.

What does the Commission consider when advising on emissions budgets?

The specific matters that we must consider when advising on emissions budgets are set out in section 5ZC of the Climate Change Response Act, as well as section 5M, where those section 5M matters are relevant. 

A core part of our analysis is to assess options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Aotearoa New Zealand, including adoption of low emissions technologies and changes in behaviours. As part of this we will be looking to understand the size of the emissions reductions possible and the likely costs, benefits, and wider impacts of each option, as well as potential barriers to its adoption. 

We must also advise government on the proportions of budgets that are met through emissions reductions and domestic removals. 

We consider the potential social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of emissions budgets on New Zealanders, including how any impacts (positive or negative) may fall across regions and communities, and from generation to generation. 

We must also consider the international context and actions by other parties to the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.