By improving nine spots from the previous year, to 28th, New Zealand moves up to the medium-performing countries in CCPI 2021.
With a high rating, the country remains strong in the Renewable Energy category, driven by a very high share of renewables in Energy Use. The biggest improvement can be seen in the GHG Emissions category, though New Zealand only moves up to the low-performing countries here, while Energy Use and Climate Policy are rated low and medium, respectively.
Experts’ comments reflect the strong performance in Renewable Energy. An existing pledge of 100% renewable electricity by 2035 is likely to be brought forward to 2030 under the new government. Coal phase-out is planned for the same year. The government also invests in green hydrogen and a study for pumped hydro storage. Despite the above, experts criticise the insufficient targets, which are not compatible with a well-below-2°C pathway. Improvements in the transport sector focus on bicycle, rail, and public transport, while there is neither support for EV infrastructure nor a minimum for fuel efficiency. Experts assert New Zealand’s worst performance is in the Non-Energy sector. Agriculture is accountable for about 50% of the country’s emissions and still excluded from the targets until at least 2022. The already-insufficient emissions targets lack implementation and the country relies on reforestation to accomplish its goals, according to the experts. Internationally, the country is a considerably progressive force in wider Paris negotiations. Still, New Zealand is rated medium here, as implementation does not live up to the prime minister’s rhetoric.
The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors to this year’s CCPI: Caitlin Holling (Lawyers for Climate Action), David Tong (Oil Change International).