How we work

We are committed to leading a fair and equitable transition that ensures a thriving, climate-resilient Aotearoa New Zealand for current and future generations. 

We take a wide systems view so we understand what our advice means for our people, our environment, our land and our economy.  

We are an advisory body and we do not run or implement any policies or programmes. We rely solely on the power and communication of our analysis and ideas to achieve impact.

Our core work programme is set out in legislation. The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 requires the Commission to deliver key functions within specific timeframes. The advice we provide to the Government is strongly rooted in the best available evidence and analysis. We are always building our knowledge of the available technologies and approaches that can reduce emissions in each sector of the economy. We are also always talking to people from across Aotearoa New Zealand, so that we can better understand what they need from our advice to help them make changes and transition to a low emissions economy.

Developing our advice

We base our approach to developing advice on actions that:

  • Will feasibly reduce emissions now
  • Are necessary by 2050 to meet our emissions reduction and adaptation goals.

Tactically, this will position Aotearoa New Zealand to respond to immediate pressures, take up current opportunities and project out over a long-term horizon. It also means we retain the flexibility to adapt and take account of new technologies and innovations that emerge along the way.

The advice we must give the government includes:

  • The level of the first three five-yearly emissions budgets that will put Aotearoa New Zealand on track to meeting its 2030 and 2050 emissions targets
  • updating Aotearoa New Zealand's emissions reduction targets
  • The direction of policy that should be included in the Government's Emissions Reduction Plan
  • National climate change risk assessments
  • Settings for the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Partnering with Iwi/Māori

We need to understand the impacts of our advice on Iwi/Māori, partner with Iwi/Māori in developing our advice, and incorporate te ao Māori into our approach. This means working in partnership.

Using information

We combine what we learn from Iwi/Māori and stakeholders with other research and data - from Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. We analyse this using economic modelling, as well as other quantitative and qualitative methods. We will create different scenarios and investigate what is critical for getting us to our targets – for example, what technologies or actions could deliver the biggest difference.

Testing our own thinking

We then test our analysis. We take a wide view that considers all aspects of the system – how any changes would affect individuals and households, and what our advice would mean for business, our society, our economy and the environment.

We get our key advice peer-reviewed externally to ensure that our analysis is solid, and we are not missing key considerations. 

We must also test the quality of our evidence and refine it with Iwi/Māori, and a wide range of stakeholders.

We’ll incorporate that feedback before releasing our recommendations to Government on what can be achieved and how to implement it.

Government decisions

The Government then makes the decisions and puts in place climate change policies. New Zealanders change what they do in response to those policies.

And then – we get to do it all again. We are around for the long haul. There will be 10 election cycles between now and 2050. We will be there providing independent, analysis driven advice to all the elected Governments on how Aotearoa New Zealand can meet its climate change commitments.