New Zealand in Action

There are three main ways New Zealand is responding to climate change - an emissions trading scheme and emissions reduction goals, renewable energy maximisation, and energy efficiency programmes and targets. These responses underpin the achievement of New Zealand’s emissions targets as outlined in our commitments under the Paris Agreement.

New Zealand's emission and renewables commitments

New Zealand has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

New Zealand aims to achieve 90% renewable electricity generation by 2025.

What is New Zealand's emissions trading scheme and how does it work?

What is New Zealand's emissions trading scheme and how does it work?


The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) aims to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low carbon economy.

The ETS puts a price on carbon emissions, providing an incentive for people to reduce emissions and plant forests to absorb carbon dioxide.

Certain sectors, including the oil and gas industry, are required to purchase 'New Zealand units' to offset their emissions.

An emission unit is one metric tonne of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of any other greenhouse gas, therefore making businesses pay for their greenhouse gas emissions. This encourages them to reduce emissions through changing their practices or investing in new technology.

Forestry owners can sell New Zealand units to emitters, because trees absorb carbon. The price of these New Zealand units is set by the market. This should result in increased incentives to plant forestry.

The Government has set an upper limit on the price of $25 for one New Zealand unit. 

New Zealand has a proud record of renewable energy generation

New Zealand has a proud record of renewable energy generation


The proportion of New Zealand’s primary energy supply that came from renewable resources was 39.5% (358 PJ) in 2014. This is the highest proportion from renewable energy since records began. New Zealand had the third highest renewable primary energy supply in the OECD after Norway and Iceland in 2014, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

Most of New Zealand’s renewable energy is used for electricity generation. In 2014, a total of 79.9% of electricity generation came from renewable resources, increasing from 75.1% in 2013. New Zealand’s percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources in 2014 was the fourth highest in the OECD.

The New Zealand government has targeted to achieve 90% renewables electricity generation by 2025, as part of our commitment to meet our climate change commitments.

Unlike many other countries, New Zealand’s electricity generating industry is dominated by renewable energy.

The downside of this success is New Zealand is left with little room to achieve significant emission reductions in the electricity generation industry.

New Zealand's renewables primary energy supply ranks us

New Zealand's renewables primary energy supply ranks us


in the OECD after Norway and Iceland

New Zealand has the


highest renewable electricity supply in the OECD

New Zealand's Renewables Primary Energy Supply 2014

Total Primary Energy Supply

Renewable Energy Mix

Making a breakthrough in energy efficiency

Making a breakthrough in energy efficiency


Energy efficiency at a national level is the responsibility of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), who encourage households, business or industry to use energy more efficiently.

As a country, we use about 2% more energy every year. We could save about 20% of that demand (or $2.4 billion a year) by using energy more efficiently and relying more on renewable resources.

Our approach to Energy Efficiency is embodied in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy 2011-2016 which sets out six energy efficiency goals.

  1. Transport – a more energy efficient transport system that uses more diverse fuels and technologies
  2. Business – enhanced business growth and competitiveness from energy intensity improvements
  3. Homes – warm, dry and energy efficient homes for better health
  4. Products – higher sales of energy efficient products
  5. Electricity system – an efficient, renewable electricity system supporting New Zealand’s global competitiveness
  6. Public sector – greater value for money from the public sector through increased energy efficiency

Read the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy now

What is EECA doing to increase energy efficiency?


EECA influences product efficiency standards and labelling. There are 24 product categories that are currently regulated for energy efficiency, including:

  • Household appliances (such as refrigerators and televisions)
  • Commercial and industrial equipment (such as commercial lighting and electric motors)


In the transport sector, EECA focuses on:

  • Providing vehicle fuel economy information to inform vehicle purchase decisions
  • Running programmes to help heavy vehicle fleets reduce fuel use
  • Promoting fuel efficient tyres
  • Encouraging motorists to regularly check tyre pressure
  • Encouraging the use of biofuels
  • Looking for ways to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles


In homes around the country, EECA promotes:

  • The effective and more widespread use of insulation
  • Promotes efficient energy practices in the home via The Energy Spot initiative.
  • Provides information around lighting options with the The Right Light campaign


For commercial activity, EECA seeks to:

  • Improve energy awareness within the business sector
  • Improve industrial and commercial energy efficiency
  • Improve the efficiency of business products
  • Encourage greater use of renewable energy resources

Carbon projects

EECA is addressing carbon reduction opportunities through:

  • The Energy Efficient Meat and Dairy Plant initiative
  • The expansion of the 'Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency' programme
  • A 'Fuel Efficient Tyres' campaign
  • The Renewable energy in Southland project


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