About New Zealand’s emissions reduction targets

This page outlines New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets.

We have several greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets

Our international targets are: 

  • 5 per cent reduction below 1990 gross emissions for the period 2013-2020
  • 30 per cent reduction below 2005 (or 11 per cent below 1990) gross emissions for the period 2021-2030.

Our domestic targets are:

  • net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases other than biogenic methane by 2050
  •  24 to 47 per cent reduction below 2017 biogenic methane emissions by 2050, including 10 per cent reduction below 2017 biogenic methane emissions by 2030.

In 2015 New Zealand met a previous target under the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012 by submitting its “True-up Report” to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

International targets

2020 target

In 2013, the Government announced an unconditional target to reach 5 per cent below our 1990 gross greenhouse gas emissions levels for the period 2013-2020.  For ease of communication, we often refer to it as our ‘2020 target’.

Although New Zealand chose to take its 2020 target under the UNFCCC rather than the Kyoto Protocol, we are applying the Kyoto Protocol rules in our emissions accounting to ensure transparency.'

We report progress towards the 2020 target in the net position report. New Zealand is on track to meet this target.

New Zealand also has a conditional 2020 target. This target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to between 10 per cent and 20 per cent below 1990 greenhouse gas emissions on the condition that there is a comprehensive global agreement.

2030 target

This target is our commitment to the Paris Agreement which aims to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 to 2°C above pre-industrial levels in this century.
New Zealand’s target under the Paris Agreement is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below gross emissions for the period 2021-2030. This target is equivalent to 11 per cent below 1990 levels for that same period.

We express our target against 2005 emissions levels, as this is similar to what some of our trading partners have done. We have provided the 1990 equivalent for ease of comparison with previous targets. We refer to it as our ‘2030 target’.

Find out more about the Paris Agreement.

Domestic targets

A credible long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction target is an important part of ensuring that New Zealand can make a smooth transition to a low-emissions future.

In 2019, the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act set into law a new domestic 2050 target:

  • net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases other than biogenic methane by 2050
  • 24 to 47 per cent below 2017 biogenic methane emissions by 2050, including 10 per cent below 2017 biogenic methane emissions by 2030.

This new target brings New Zealand in line with the global ambition set under the Paris Agreement. It repeals our former domestic 2050 target, which was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

For more information on the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019, see the Zero Carbon Amendment Act web page.

Reviewed:
25/11/19