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New Zealand must scale up climate ambition to meet zero emissions by 2030 – Oxfam report

Oxfam New Zealand is publishing a ground-breaking report on New Zealand’s contribution to global climate action this week.

A Fair 2030 Target for Aotearoa shows the stark discrepancy between what New Zealand is currently doing and what it should be doing, to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement and to stand with our Pacific neighbours and others on the frontlines of climate breakdown.

The report highlights how New Zealand must enhance its 2030 target under the Paris Agreement and increase climate finance for developing countries as a critical part of meeting our fair share of the global effort to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

Oxfam New Zealand Campaigns Lead Alex Johnston said: “What’s clear is that New Zealand is not doing its fair share to keep global heating within 1.5 degrees. Our neighbours in the Pacific know all too well that the impacts of climate change are not distributed equally – nor should the responsibility for tackling it. As a well-off, industrialised nation New Zealand has a responsibility to do more than the global average to reduce emissions.

“Our fair share equates to getting emissions to zero by 2030. If we can’t manage that domestically, we must support frontline countries who would be forced to carry our load. We can do this by greatly increasing climate finance.”

Through the Zero Carbon Act incorporating the Paris Agreement’s principles, there is a legal obligation for New Zealand to consider equity and how the burden of reducing emissions is shared between different countries – including our relative wealth, and historic pollution compared to developing countries.  

According to the report, if every country were to share the effort to keep to 1.5 degrees based purely on their population when the Paris Agreement was signed, New Zealand would still need to reduce emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2030. 

When considering historical responsibility, New Zealand’s fair share of global efforts to reach 1.5 degrees would increase to reductions of at least 99% by 2030. Our current target is equivalent to an 11% reduction.

Johnston said before the next major global milestone on climate action, COP26 next year, we must increase our 2030 target by our maximum possible ambition, and make up the gap between what we can do domestically and what our fair share is through greatly enhancing the climate finance we give to developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate breakdown. 

“As we look to recover from the pandemic and its effects on communities, now is the moment to reset the barometer of action and look to where we are heading. Our current pathway is miles off a safe climate future. If Aotearoa is to be a good Pacific neighbour, we need to aim for the best chance of staying to 1.5 degrees, and to pull our weight to get there.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Kelsey-Rae Taylor | Kelsey-Rae.Taylor@oxfam.org.nz | +64 21 298 9854

Notes to editors:

Oxfam New Zealand’s report A Fair 2030 Target for Aotearoa is available to download here

  • New Zealand’s current Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement sets a 2030 emissions reduction target of 30% below 2005 levels, equivalent to 11% below 1990 levels. This international target is distinct from the targets set under the Zero Carbon Act.
  • The Climate Commission has been asked by the Minister of Climate Change to advise on the consistency of New Zealand’s current Paris Agreement 2030 target with global efforts to keep to 1.5 degrees, ahead of the next global climate talks, COP26, to be held in Glasgow next year.
  • Oxfam and a dozen more of New Zealand’s leading international aid agencies launched a joint campaign in July at www.bighearts.org.nzcalling for New Zealand to dramatically increase its aid funding and climate finance for poorer countries.