Country:New Zealand
Policy status:In Force
Date Effective:2002
Date Amended:


Policy Type:Regulatory Instruments, Policy Support
Policy Target:
Agency:Government of New Zealand
Legal References:Climate Change Response Act 2002

The New Zealand government ratified the Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on 19 December 2002. Under the Protocol, New Zealands target was 100% of 1990 emissions multiplied by 5 in the period 2008-2012. While New Zealand is still party to Kyoto and has ongoing commitments, the government made no second emissions reduction commitment in 2012. In the transition period 2013 to 2020, developed countries had the option of signing up to a Second Commitment Period (CP2) under the Kyoto Protocol or taking their pledges under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

Prior to the 2012 Doha climate change meeting, New Zealand announced that it would set its next climate change target under the UN Framework Convention, the Kyoto Protocol’s parent body, rather than under the Protocol itself. In August 2013, New Zealand announced an unconditional target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 5 per cent below our 1990 emissions by 2020. The target was more ambitious than New Zealand’s obligation under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (to cap emissions at 1990 levels) and was to be managed using the framework of rules applicable to the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period. 

The 2020 target sat alongside New Zealand’s other climate change targets:   New Zealand’s Cancun pledge of a conditional target range of between 10 and 20 per cent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020 in the context of a comprehensive global agreement, and with five specified requirements:  ◦the global agreement sets the world on a pathway to limit temperature rise to not more than 2°C;◦developed countries make comparable efforts to those of New Zealand;◦advanced and major emitting developing countries take action fully commensurate with their respective capabilities;◦there is an effective set of rules for land use, land-use change and forestry and;◦there is full recourse to a broad and efficient international carbon market.   

In July 2015, the New Zealand Government announced that our post-2020 climate change target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 (until then New Zealand’s target had been to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The new post-2020 target is equivalent to 11 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.  New Zealand will meet these responsibility targets through a mix of domestic emission reductions, the removal of carbon dioxide by forests and participation in international carbon markets.

Related policies:Emissions Trading Scheme , Climate Change Response Legislation

Last modified: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 16:48:49 CET