The response

The response

(Image: Monika Kubala)

Are we doing enough?


  • No. Neither as a nation nor as a planet (Fig. 1).
  • New Zealand’s pledges under the Paris Accord won’t meet the goal of keeping global temperatures under 1.5°C or even under 2°C. We are on track to reach between 2-3°C (Fig. 2).
  • We can’t close the borders to the global climate, so we need to limit the impacts from the accelerating social, cultural, environmental, and economic costs.

“New Zealand’s Paris Agreement target is inconsistent with the Government’s goal of keeping the average temperature increase to within 1.5°C, officials have told ministers. The advice from the Ministry for the Environment was given to Climate Change Minister James Shaw in February and obtained by Stuff under the Official Information Act.

“Shaw was told the target allows some 85 million tonnes more emissions between 2021 and 2030 than would be compatible with a 1.5°C goal – putting the country over budget by about one year’s current emissions.” Stuff July 2020

Fig. 1: Projected temperature increases under current policies
Fig. 2: New Zealand’s commitments to reduce net emissions (see ‘Explainer’) are insufficient to stay within what the IPCC deemed as ‘safe’ temperature increase of 1.5°C above pre-Industrial levels. We also exceed the ‘dangerous’ 2°C levels.