Government sets new NDC in bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030

The Government has announced a new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

The announcement comes on the eve of the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow - COP26 - where world leadings will meet to discuss issues surrounding climate change. 

The current rules under the Paris Agreement state each country that has agreed to the climate accords has to adopt an international target known as an NDC.

The Paris Agreement was put in place to tackle climate change and limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. 

"New Zealand's enhanced contribution to the global effort to fight climate change now represents our fair share, and is in line with what's needed if we are to avoid the worst impacts of global warming on New Zealand," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says on Sunday.

 "Climate change is a priority for the Government because it's a threat to our economy, our environment and our everyday lives. Lifting our commitment is an investment in a stable climate that will benefit us all in the future."

Ardern says the new NDC comes off the back of New Zealand's increased investment in climate aid, especially in the Pacific. She also warned New Zealand is not immune to the impact of climate change, so it's "critical we pull our weight".

"The increased NDC is a big step towards ensuring New Zealand is doing everything it can to help tackle global climate change.

 "Our new contribution complements the work the Government continues to do to build a prosperous, low carbon economy for New Zealand. This work is laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs and supports our recovery from COVID-19."

The new target comes after the Climate Change Commission told the Government it wasn't doing enough to tackle global warming and that the NDC set by the previous Government in 2016 was not aggressive enough.   

 "Two years ago we put the 1.5C global warming limit into our Zero Carbon Act," Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says.

"Today [Sunday] we're upping our commitment to help keep the world on track to meet it."

Shaw describes this decade as "make or break for the planet".

"To stand a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C, the science shows we now have about eight years left to almost halve global greenhouse gas emissions. That's eight years for countries to make the necessary plans, put in place policies, implement them, and ultimately deliver the cuts. 

"I am confident we can do it and in doing so open the door to a thriving world that is cleaner, healthier, and more equitable."

Over the last 12 months countries all over the world have been coming forward with more ambitious targets to keep the world on track towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

"The improved target we are announcing today brings New Zealand up to speed with other countries' commitments. It is a huge improvement from where we were before," Shaw says.