Key parts of the framework influencing New Zealand’s response to climate change over the next 13 years have now been set:
• three five-yearly emissions budgets;
• an emissions reduction plan to meet these budgets; and
• a national adaptation plan to build resilience to climate change.
The actions identified by this framework set the scene for future regulatory and nonregulatory responses to reduce emissions. They will affect all sectors, particularly transportation, planning and infrastructure, energy and resources, agriculture, forestry, and waste management.
There is a cap on emissions until 2025 and indicative until 2035 Three budgets have been set.
The 2022-2025 budget matches the Climate Change Commission’s advice. 0000The budgets for 2026–2030 and 2031–35 are slightly more ambitious than both the Climate Change Commission’s advice and the budgets consulted on by the Government in 2021. While the first budget is capped, there will be a review in 2024 and 2029 in light of progress made on actions in the Emissions Reduction Plan. So, the later budgets may change.
A plan to reduce emissions has been identified
New Zealand’s first Emissions Reduction Plan (Plan) sets out the Government’s strategy to achieve emissions reductions and meet the emissions budgets. This has approximately 300 actions affecting a range of sectors. Many of these actions are broadly stated, with details not fully scoped. These actions indicate the nature of regulatory and non-regulatory methods that may be introduced to drive change.
Adaptation to climate change is needed
New Zealand’s first national adaptation plan: Urutau, ka taurikura: Kia tū pakari a Aotearoa i ngā huringa āhuarangi – Adapt and thrive: Building a climate-resilient New Zealand (National Adaptation Plan) was finalised in August this year. The National Adaptation Plan sets out how New Zealand will adapt to the impacts and risks of climate change over the next six years. It is clear that the costs of adaptation will be shared with local government, homeowners, business owners, banks and insurers. The first National Climate Change Risk Assessment identified 43 priority risks from the impacts of climate change. These included sea level rise, risks to drinkable water supplies due to changes in rainfall, and risks to buildings due to extreme weather events, flooding, and fires.
Those risks informed the four priorities that underpin the National Adaptation Plan:
1. Enabling better risk-informed decisions;
2. Driving climate-resilient development in the right places;
3. Laying the foundations for a range of adaptation options including managed retreat; and
4. Embedding climate resilience across government policy.
This climate framework highlights that emissions-heavy industry will need to pivot over time and everyone will need to better understand their climate risks so they can prepare and adapt for our changing future.
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