Ngā takohanga ā-motu

National commitments

​Climate Change Response Act 2002 and Zero Carbon Amendment Act 2019

The Climate Change Response Act 2002 is the legal framework that enables New Zealand to:

  • develop clear and stable policies to limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels; and allow New Zealand to prepare and adapt to the effects of climate change
  • meet its international obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

To meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the act empowers the Minister of Finance to manage New Zealand’s holdings of units that represent New Zealand’s target allocation for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the protocol. It enables the minister to trade those units on the international market.

It establishes a registry to record holdings and transfers of units.

The act also establishes a national inventory agency to record and report information relating to GHG emissions in accordance with international requirements. Thereby, the act underpins the New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 expanded the purpose of the Climate Change Response Act 2002 to:

  • recognise the outcomes of the Paris Agreement (i.e. a global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels)
  • allow New Zealand to prepare for, and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The amendments resulted in four key actions:

  • Set up a new domestic greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
  • Establish a system of emissions budgets that contribute towards the long-term target set out in the Paris Agreement.
  • Require the government to develop and implement policies for climate change adaptation and mitigation- which is the basis for the National Climate Change Risk Assessment.
  • Establish a new Climate Change Commission to provide expert advice and monitoring to meet long term targets.

New Zealand Climate Leaders Coalition

The New Zealand Climate Leaders Coalition was launched in July 2018 to promote business leadership and collective action on the issue of climate change.

Over 110 New Zealand organisations have joined the coalition, including Air New Zealand, Westpac, the Warehouse Group, Ports of Auckland, Auckland Airport, Counties Manukau District Health Board and Sky City Entertainment Group.

To mark its first anniversary, the coalition launched a second higher ambition pledge in July 2019. The revised pledge reflected the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and aligned with the Government’s zero carbon ambitions.

Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Watercare and Panuku have been members of the Climate Leaders Coalition since September 2018 and have set measures to mitigate operational GHG emissions while also delivering on the coalition’s broader commitments.