Preparing advice on emissions budgets

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


Every five years, the Climate Change Commission must:

  • review emissions budgets that are already set – we may recommend a budget be revised if there have been changes to the way emissions are measured or reported, or if significant changes have affected the considerations on which the emissions budget was originally based.
  • recommend the maximum level of the next emissions budget

We advise the Minister of Climate Change on:

  • The recommended maximum 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.

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

We are currently working on advice for the fourth emissions budget (for the period 2036–2040). Read more.

What the Commission must consider

Specific matters that we must consider are set out in section 5ZC of the CCRA, and section 5M (where relevant).

Our analysis includes assessing options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Aotearoa New Zealand, including adoption of low emissions technology and behaviour change.

Though our analysis, we look to understand:

  • the size of the emissions reductions possible
  • the likely costs, benefits and wider impacts of each option, as well as potential barriers to its adoption.

We must also advise on the proportions of budgets that are met through emissions reductions and by domestic removals (such as removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by forests).

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 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Our next advice

We are currently developing advice on the fourth emissions budget, covering the period 2036–2040.

We will be consulting on the draft advice 8 April – 31 May 2024.

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

Our previous advice

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

The Government set these three budgets in May 2022.