Te mahere a Tāmaki Makaurau ki te whakakore i te whakamahinga o te waro

A decarbonisation pathway for Auckland

​One of the main goals of the plan is to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 (against a 2016 baseline).

This aligns the plan with the objective of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Auckland’s emissions need to peak and then rapidly decline to move onto a decarbonisation pathway that meets our climate goals. We need significant, bold action across sectors.

The longer it takes to achieve peak emissions, the steeper and more severe Auckland’s emissions reduction pathway will need to be to meet our emissions reduction targets and stay within our carbon budget.

Continuing on our current pathway, we are likely to exceed our carbon budget by around 2030.

Learn about our climate goals by visiting Implementing Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan.

Emissions modelling

To develop an illustrative decarbonisation pathway, the CURB Tool (developed by the World Bank in partnership with C40 Cities) and supplementary modelling were used to model climate action across the sectors in Auckland’s greenhouse gas emissions profile.

Not all sectors have been modelled to deliver the same level of emissions reductions. This is intentional to reflect the different challenges and opportunities facing each sector.

However, our modelling has shown that, to achieve our climate commitments, we need bold, ambitious climate action across every sector.

Modelled decarbonisation pathway showing net emissions reductions across sectors 

The graph above illustrates one pathway as to how modelled climate actions for each sector could reduce emissions from the business as usual projection (the top line on the graph). This is based on several assumptions, with the level of certainty decreasing over time.

Each coloured band represents the emissions reduction that has been modelled for that sector from 2016 to 2050. Each band subtracts emissions from the business as usual projection. The grey area under the coloured bands represents the total emissions that remain over time (our residual emissions).

Summary of the data from the illustrative decarbonisation pathway

Population estimations and net emissions projections from 2016 to 2050:

​Auckland’s estimated population

​1,614,400 ​2,040,100 ​2,464,100

​Business as usual projection: net emissions (MtCO2e)

​10.1 ​11.5 ​12.4

​Decarbonisation pathway: net emissions (MtCO2e)

10.1​ 5.1 ​ 0.6 ​

​Decarbonisation pathway % reduction against 2016 baseline

​- ​50% ​94%

​Business as usual projection emissions per capita (tCO2e)

​6.3 ​5.6 ​5.0

​Decarbonisation pathway emissions per capita (tCO2e)

​6.3 ​2.5 ​0.3

​Decarbonisation pathway % reduction per capita

​- ​56% ​94%


Gross emissions per sectors in 2016 and 2030 as per decarbonisation pathway:  

Residual emissions

Even with ambitious action across sectors, there is likely to be residual emissions in 2050. The illustrative pathway shows approximately 6 per cent of emissions staying in 2050.

To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, it is likely that additional strategies and new technologies will be required, as well as carbon sequestration, to address these remaining emissions.

This is an issue shared by other C40 cities, who have also identified residual emissions in 2050 in their climate action plans and recognise that additional strategies and technologies will be needed.

We will be monitoring progress against the decarbonisation pathway on an annual basis and updating Auckland’s emissions trajectory every three years to keep an up to date estimate of residual emissions.