The Climate Change Commission’s final advice to the government on how New Zealand can reach its climate target was tabled in Parliament last month. The government now has until 31 December 2021 to set the first three emissions budgets out to 2035 and release its first all-of-government emissions reduction plan. If it chooses not to accept the commission’s advice, it must publish an alternative plan for addressing climate change in New Zealand and reaching its targets.

Work on an emissions reduction plan has already begun. The plan will include a chapter on transport and the Ministry of Transport recently consulted on a consultation document Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi – Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050. The consultation document focussed on identifying opportunities to reduce emissions across three themes: changing the way we travel; improving passenger vehicles; and supporting a more efficient freight system. Submissions closed late last month and we made a submission primarily focussed on the need for integration between urban, transport and land-use planning, and broadening the first theme to ‘changing why and the way we travel’. Full public consultation on initiatives to reduce transport emissions will occur in the second half of this year and then refined further for inclusion in the transport chapter of the emissions reduction plan.

The Climate Change Commission will begin monitoring how the government’s emissions reduction plan is being implemented from 2022, including how well New Zealand is tracking to meet the 2050 net zero target.