Examination of Paris climate change agreement

Addressing climate change is the focus of an international treaty which would commit New Zealand to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

As New Zealand is responsible for just 0.16 per cent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, it cannot significantly limit the impacts of climate change on its own. The collective global response will dictate how New Zealand’s climate changes and how these changes impact New Zealand over time.

Icebergs broken off the Tasman Glacier on Tasman Lake Enlarge image

Source: iStock

What is this treaty about?

The Paris Agreement is a joint international treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Agreement provides a legal framework for all countries to commit to taking action against climate change.

The Paris Agreement is being considered by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee.

What does this treaty mean?

The Agreement will enter into force once at least 55 countries, accounting for a minimum of 55 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, have completed the ratification process. Its ratification would require New Zealand to:

  • submit five-yearly updates of national emissions contributions

  • participate in a reporting and review regime

  • engage in adaptation planning as appropriate for New Zealand’s circumstances

  • continue to provide financial support for developing countries’ efforts at climate change mitigation (emission reduction) and adaptation (increased resilience to impacts)

What happens now?

You can have your say on the Paris Agreement by submitting to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee. Submissions close on 2 September 2016.