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New Zealand

New Zealand: NDC We Don’t Want

On April 22, 2020, New Zealand has submitted to the UNFCCC an “update of New Zealand’s Nationally determined Contribution”, in response to paragraphs 24 and 25 of decision 1/CP.21. Although formally considered an updated NDC, our view is that New Zealand’s submission does not comply with the guidance on decisions 1/CP.21 and 4/CMA.1.

However, we did analyze it against the #NDCsWeWant checklist, as the document presents information on domestic advances since the 2015 NDC and mentions that “the Minister for Climate Change has requested the Climate Change Commission to provide advice and recommendations to the Government on whether the NDC should change to make it consistent with the global 1.5°C temperature goal and, if so, how. The Climate Change Commission will be providing its advice in early 2021”. We will update this analysis once a new communication is submitted to the UNFCCC.

Following the 2017 election, New Zealand has taken strong action on environmental issues. The country has stopped granting new offshore oil and gas exploration permits and enacted the Zero Carbon Act with almost unanimous support from Parliament in 2019. Although the submission hints at the possibility of an ambition enhancement in 2021, targets are the same of the previous NDC and information on most of the #NDCsWeWant criteria is not presented. In line with our checklist, we therefore consider New Zealand’s NDC an NDC We Don’t Want.

The Commission’s advice – if it recommends stepping up the target – could be a game changer if the government decides to do it before COP 26.