Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for Climate Change Issues
29 January 2011 Media Statement
50 by 50 emissions reduction target proposed
The Government is proposing to gazette under the Climate Change Response Act 2002 a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s
greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“We acknowledge it is difficult to look 40 years forward but the nature of the climate change problem requires we think
and plan for the long term,” Dr Smith said. “We believe a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by
2050, or in short -50 by 50, is a realistic but credible target for New Zealand.
“This target will require New Zealand to reduce net emissions by 31 million tonnes a year. This is a very big ask when
nearly half our emissions come from agriculture and when we already produce 70% of our electricity from renewables. It
will only be achievable with major technological innovations in areas like agriculture and transport, which are quite
possible over this timeframe.
“This proposed New Zealand 2050 target is quite compatible with similar targets set in Australia (-50%), Canada (-50 to
65%), Japan (-55 to 80%) and the United States (-80%). It is consistent with the Government’s policy of ensuring New
Zealand does its fair share in the global effort to limit the negative impacts of climate change while recognising the
unique emissions profile New Zealand has with the dominance of agriculture.
“This long-term emissions reduction target cannot be set in stone and will need to be regularly reviewed taking into
account the latest scientific advice on climate change, progress made by other nations, and progress made in the
development of new technologies that would enable New Zealand to reduce emissions.”
Submissions on the proposed -50 by 50 target can be made to the Ministry for the Environment at firstname.lastname@example.org
and close on 28 February 2011.
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