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Setting a course to net-zero

 

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced New Zealand’s first three emissions budgets, which will take the country toward a zero-carbon future.

An emissions budget is the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be put into the atmosphere over a period of time. The three emissions budgets announced today set out the total amount of emissions New Zealand must cut over the next 14 years. The Zero Carbon Act requires that emissions budgets are met through domestic action alone.

Cabinet has agreed that the first three emissions budgets will be:

  • Emissions Budget 1 (2022–2025): 290 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gasses (72.4 megatonnes per year)
  • Emissions Budget 2 (2026–2030): 305 megatones (averages 61 megatonnes per year) [in principle]
  • Emissions Budget 3 (2031–2035): 240 megatonnes (48 megatonnes per year) [in principle]

Emissions budget 1 averages out at 72.4 megatonnes per year. That equates to two megatonnes per year less than the five-year average leading up to this point (2017-2021), and 3.1 megatonnes less than projected emissions for 2022 to 2025.

Emissions budget 2 averages out at 61 megatonnes per year. That equates to an average of 13.4 megattones per annum, nearly twenty percent below average annual emissions from 2017 to 2021.

Emissions budget 3 averages out at 48 megatonnes per year, which equates to an average of 26.4 megatonnes per annum, or about thirty-five per cent, less than the average annual emissions from 2017 to 2021.