What is the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act?
The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act provides the basis for the country to develop and implement climate change policies that ultimately adhere to the Paris Agreement. Two new domestic reduction targets were outlined. The first was to reduce biogenic methane in New Zealand by between 24 and 47 percent by 2050. The second was to reduce all other greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. The individual plans were a pragmatic approach as the country is heavily dependent on its agriculture industry, which is responsible for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions.
How will emissions targets be met?
In order to reach their greenhouse gas emissions targets, the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme was implemented. The scheme puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions, allowing businesses to trade carbon credits. Entities that emit greenhouse gases must pay these carbon credits, while entities that remove gases, such as those in the forestry sector, can earn credits which can be sold to other companies. The new forest area planted in the country has been increasing over the past few years, and new plantings to offset carbon emissions may be even more critical if the targets are to be met by 2050.