As the planet continues to warm, extreme weather events and a changing climate are increasingly threatening lives and livelihoods. International cooperation through COP26 aims to address this, and this is being translated into action here in Aotearoa New Zealand through a newly announced emissions reduction target as well as the currently open public consultation on how to achieve this.

COP26 in full swing

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is now in its first week of negotiations in Glasgow. 

The eyes of the world are on this global event, which brings leaders from 200 countries together to broker solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It runs until 12 November 2021. 

Towards the end of the Conference the agenda will move towards implementation. Our sister organisation in the United Kingdom, the Local Government Association (LGA) has led calls for a day dedicated to local and regional government. The penultimate day, 11 November 2021, is therefore dedicated to Cities, Regions and the Built Environment. The Conference timetable is available here.

News and analysis on the latest developments can be found here.

New Zealand’s emissions reduction target boosted

Shortly before COP26 began, the New Zealand Government announced a goal of reducing greenhouse emissions 50 per cent by 2030.

This appears to be a much larger number compared to the 30 per cent reductions the then Government announced in 2016. Not only have our greenhouse gas emissions continued to increase rather than decrease since 2016, but some have criticised this new target for being opaque.

Most obviously, net emissions reduction is planned to be achieved by paying other countries to do it for us. This means we can continue burning coal, gas, and transport fuels as well as only make minor reductions in methane-producing livestock. Many others also question the accounting itself.

Emissions Reduction Plan consultation still open

We featured the consultation on the Government's Emissions Reduction Plan in a recent article. 

Much of the reductions will need to be achieved at a local level. The warming already locked in through already-released emissions will also increasingly be felt in our communities across the country. 

We therefore encourage you to submit on this Plan which will help meet the new 50 per cent reduction in emissions just announced. We also encourage you to contribute to the Taituarā submission, by contacting Raymond Horan, our Chief Advisor. We are still working on this, but you can view the draft here.

The consultation will close on 24 November 2021.