Principles influencing emission reduction plan released

Climate Change Minister James Shaw wants New Zealand's emission reduction pathway to be ambitious, affordable and have a genuine partnership with Māori.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

Shaw today released the principles he wants to influence New Zealand's emission reduction plan, set to be released later this year, which will set out the level emissions need to be cut. 

"Addressing the climate crisis will never just be about setting long-term emission reduction targets, but making changes, both large and small, that together will add up to a better, cleaner future," he said. 

Shaw today released principles to inform the decisions to be made around dropping emissions:

- Prioritising a transition which would create "good jobs and ensures no one is left behind".
- Science-led response to ensure New Zealand meets its obligations in the Paris Agreement.
- Enhancing the role of nature based solutions.
- Genuine partnership with Māori.
- A clear, ambitious, and affordable path to provide business with certainty.

The Government is currently working on how to meet emission budgets, which outline the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted in the next 15 years - and how much the country need to cut. 

The Climate Change Commission's high-powered recent report showed New Zealand was not on track to meet its 2050 emission targets, and included an estimation of the cost of lack of action – a price tag of 2.3 per cent of GDP by 2050, almost double the cost of acting now.

Reaching net zero emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases and dropping methane emissions to 24-47 per cent by 2050 would require "us do to things differently in the decades to come", said Climate Commission chair Rod Carr said at the time. 

Shaw said in his speech today that since that report was released, "officials in agencies and ministries right across have been coming to the table to set out what actions can be taken to bring down emissions in their sector".

He said that would for the draft Emission Reduction Plan which would then go to Cabinet before consultation. 

"We need to rise above day-to-day political divisions and come together in a collective effort to address the biggest issues facing the country," Shaw said. 

"From now on, nearly every Minister needs to think of themselves as a Climate Change Minister. And they are."

Shaw said the framework in the plan would be released in the next few months. 

By December 2021, three emission budgets must be published under the Zero Carbon Act, the first would be from 2022 to 2025, the second 2026 to 2030 and the third from 2031 to 2035. The level of emission budget and policy direction in the Emission Reduction Plan also need to be published.