On May 16, 2022, the New Zealand Government released its first Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) to set out how the country will reduce its short-term emissions between 2022 to 2025 and long-term emissions to meet the net-zero target by 2050.
Why New Zealand needs an Emission Reduction Plan
In May 2021, the Climate Change Commission, an independent crown entity that advises the New Zealand government on climate change policy, delivered its advice on how the country can reach its 2030 and 2050 emissions target reductions under the Climate Change Response Act 2002 (Emissions Reduction Plan, n.d.).
The Act mandates the government to prepare an economy-wide Emissions Reduction Plan which will set out policies and strategies to reduce emissions to meet the 2050 net-zero goal.
Last year, from October to November 2021, the government conducted a consultation asking Kiwis for their views on what should be included in the plan.
The consultation received 10,050 responses from individuals, community groups, iwi, companies and sector organisations, local government, academics, and non-governmental organisations, reflecting a diversity of views and what’s important to various groups and communities across Aotearoa.
Therefore, these submissions represent more New Zealanders than the number received (Ministry, 2022).
What’s in the Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP)
The ERP contains more than 300 climate actions covering these critical sectors – energy, agriculture, transport, waste, construction, and forestry, encompassing New Zealand’s economy and society. Implementing these actions will require collaboration from all levels of government, community groups, and individuals, says deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.
The government’s press release, “Landmark climate plan secures path to net-zero”, provides the highlights of the ERP:
- Emissions Reduction Plan prepares New Zealand for the future, ensuring the country is on track to meet the first emissions budget, securing jobs, and unlocking new investment;
- More New Zealanders supported purchasing electric vehicles, increasing zero-emissions vehicles to at least 30 per cent of the light fleet by 2035;
- Reduced waste going to landfills and investment in waste infrastructure so that most houses will have kerbside food waste collection by 2030;
- Easier, cleaner, cheaper public transport, including infrastructure projects in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and nationally integrated ticketing;
- Zero emissions buses only enter the fleet from 2025, and the entire public transport fleet will be decarbonised by 2035;
- Low emissions trucks transport food and other products, cutting freight emissions by 35 per cent by 2035;
- More of our most prominent businesses are powered by clean, renewable energy generated here in New Zealand;
- We will end our reliance on coal with a ban on new low to medium temperature coal boilers and a phase-out of existing ones by 2037;
- Climate-friendly food and fibre production with the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions accelerating delivery of emissions reduction tools and technologies and an emissions pricing mechanism for agriculture by 1 January 2025;
- Support for native wildlife and forests.
Setting out the Emissions Budget
The plan sets out the country’s emissions budget, putting a sinking lid on emissions covering three separate periods until 2035 (Cardwell, 2022).
“First budget period 2022-2025: 290 megatonnes can be released (about 72 a year and approximately three less than projected the period. A slight reduction, but in line with what the Climate Change Commission recommended)”
“Second budget period 2026-2030: 305 megatonnes (about 61 a year, so there is a slight increase in the total allowed to be released, but because it is over a longer period of five years, the annual average released is nearly 20 per cent less than the period of five years up to 2021)”
“Third budget period 2031-2035: 240 megatonnes (about 48 a year or 35 per cent less than the period up to 2021).”
Funds to meet the emissions budget
The government has established a $4.5 billion Climate Emergency Fund (CERF), coming from the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) revenue.
It will allocate $2.9 billion to achieving the 2022-2025 emissions limit. Transportation gets $1.2 billion, energy about $692 million, and $380 million for Agriculture.
To access the entire ERP, click the link provided in the “Source” below.
Emissions Reduction Plan (n.d.). Ministry for Primary Industries. Retrieved from https://www.mpi.govt.nz/consultations/emissions-reduction-plan/
Ministry for the Environment. 2022. Emissions reduction plan: Summary of submissions. Wellington: Ministry for the Environment. Retrieved from https://environment.govt.nz/assets/publications/Files/Emissions-reduction-plan-summary-of-submissions.pdf
Landmark climate plan secures path to net zero. (2022, May 16). Beehive.govt.nz. Retrieved from https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/landmark-climate-plan-secures-path-net-zero
Cardwell, H., Scotcher, K., & Palmer, R. (2022, May 16). First Emissions Reduction Plan spends $2.9b from Emergency Response Fund. RNZ. Retrieved from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/467196/first-emissions-reduction-plan-spends-2-point-9b-from-emergency-response-fund
Cardwell, H. (2022 Ma 9). Government plan to tackle climate change to be revealed. RNZ. Retrieved from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/466704/government-plan-to-tackle-climate-change-to-be-revealed