New Zealand rises two places in this year’s CCPI to 33rd, putting it among the medium-performing countries. The country shows a mixed performance across the CCPI categories, with a low rating in Energy Use, very low in GHG Emissions, medium in Climate Policy, and high in Renewable Energy.
Climate legislations are not Paris aligned
New Zealand has a legislated Zero Carbon Act, which includes a commitment to the 1.5°C target as well as a net-zero emissions target and yearly emissions budgets. There is also an accompanying Emissions Reduction Plan and an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Despite the above, the CCPI experts criticise that these pieces of legislation are not 1.5°C-compatible (despite the commitment to the 1.5°C target) and lack important details. And although agricultural sector emissions (including methane and nitrogen dioxide [NO2]) account for 50% of New Zealand’s overall GHG emissions, the agricultural sector is not included in the ETS and does not face any regulations. This exclusion is another major point of criticism from the experts.
Ban on fossil fuels does not include coal mining and onshore oil and gas exploration
The experts welcome a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration, as well as a target of 100% renewable electricity by 2035 (with already a relatively high 43% share of renewables in energy use), but they note that coal mining and onshore oil and gas exploration remain unrestricted. They also criticise a lack of policies to incentivise deployment of new renewables, noting that the high share of renewables mainly owes to hydroelectric power plants, which were built in the last century and dominate the electricity sector.
Additionally, the experts emphasise that electricity only makes up 4% of New Zealand’s overall GHG emissions, leading to the 100% renewable electricity commitment only having limited effects on overall emissions.
To become aligned with a well-below-2°C trajectory, New Zealand needs to include the agricultural sector in the ETS and implement policies to reduce agricultural emissions, along with banning synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.
The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: