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Taking action

This section looks at how all parts of society can be supported to make low-carbon choices.

  • Policies, targets, regulations, infrastructure, and market settings should be developed systematically to support low-carbon choices by businesses, cities and households.
  • An independent board or entity to provide evidence-based advice to parliament and the public would be valuable.
  • The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme has been ineffective in reducing New Zealand’s emissions. This has reflected low international carbon credit prices. 
  • Reform is needed to provide clear and stable investment signals. 
  • Emission pricing has an important role but to be most effective it needs to be embedded in a wider package of mitigation policies and actions.

In pictures

Actions we can take now towards a low-carbon future for New Zealand
Actions we can take now towards a low-carbon future for New Zealand

Key findings

  • Reducing emissions to net zero and creating a low-carbon economy within the next 35-50 years will involve changes in the behaviours of all sectors of society, from individuals, families and communities to businesses and government.
  • The social and technological changes required are significant, but achievable if people and organisations are enabled so they can choose low-carbon options.
  • The tools, technologies and systems available to reduce emissions are likely to change dramatically over the next decades. To avoid being locked into high cost choices and pick up attractive new options quickly we can be open to and actively trial new options, evaluate our past choices and be prepared to admit failure, and make choices that open up future options rather than excluding them.
  • One starting point for behaviour change is for people and organisations to understand their emissions profile with a range of tools available to provide personalised assessments of carbon footprints.
  • Behaviour is shaped by a comprehension of the climate change problem as well as by the wider context set by local and national government policies, and by infrastructure development.
  • Policies including emissions pricing, infrastructure and cultures need to evolve to make it easier for people and organisations to consistently make low-carbon choices.
  • Climate change policy can be developed in a way that involves New Zealanders, our organisations and businesses. Implementation requires action from all of us so the procedures should be open, well-informed, systematic, efficient and equitable.
  • Being involved in the development of policy, or even just being informed, will influence our commitment to a low-carbon future.
  • When setting targets, careful analysis of actions and measures and early discussion with sector stakeholders could help ensure that targets can be reached and policy effectiveness can later be evaluated.
  • Public debate about climate change could be informed by provision of information about the strengths and weaknesses of different policy options.
  • New procedures and institutions such as strategies, action plans, and independent monitoring and advisory committees may improve climate-change policy-making by making it more focussed, stable and accessible to the stakeholders.

Read the summary

Read the report