Emissions budgets and the emissions reduction plan 

Aotearoa New Zealand is using a system of emissions budgets to meet our 2050 target. The Government published the first three emissions budgets (2022–2025, 2026–2030, 2031–2035) in May 2022. The emissions reduction plan setting out policies and strategies for meeting emissions budgets was published on 16 May 2022. 

Progress is monitored by the Climate Change Commission, as outlined in the Climate Change Response Act (2002)

Emissions budgets

An emissions budget is a total quantity of emissions that is allowed to be released during an emissions budget period. Each emissions budget covers a period of five years (except the first emissions budget which covers the period 2022-2025).

Emissions budgets will act as stepping-stones, or interim targets, to reaching our 2050 emissions reduction targets.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s legislated 2050 emissions reduction targets are:

  • net zero greenhouse gas emissions (except biogenic methane)
  • a 24-47% reduction in biogenic methane.

The Government's emissions budgets (Mt CO2e)

The emissions budget permitted for the relevant emissions budget periods are expressed in megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e). The first three emissions budgets were published in May 2022.

Budget period 2022–25 2026–30 2031–35
All gases, net (AR5)  290 Mt CO2e 305 Mt CO2e 240 Mt CO2e
Annual average 72.5 Mt CO2e 61 Mt CO2e 48 Mt CO2e

The total of the emissions budgets for the first three budget periods is 20 Mt CO2e (2.3 per cent) lower than the Climate Change Commission’s proposed budgets.

The Climate Change Commission’s proposed budgets (Mt CO2e) 

The Climate Change Commission's recommendation for New Zealand's first three emissions budgets as in their final report Ināia tonu nei: a low emissions future for Aotearoa [Climate Change Commission], published in June 2021, was:

Budget period




All gases, net (AR5)

290 Mt CO2e

312 Mt CO2e

253  Mt CO2e

Annual average

72.4   Mt CO2e

62.4 Mt CO2e

50.6 Mt CO2e

The role of the Climate Change Commission

The Climate Change Commission is responsible for providing recommendations to Government on emissions budgets and the emissions reduction plan.

On 1 February 2021, the Commission released its draft advice [Climate Change Commission] on the:

  • first three emissions budgets
  • policy direction for the Government's first emissions reduction plan, to meet New Zealand's first emissions budget
  • New Zealand's 2030 nationally determined contribution
  • eventual reductions required for biogenic methane required for New Zealand to contribute to limiting global average temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The Commission consulted on the draft report from 1 February to 28 March 2021 and received more than 15,000 submissions.

On 31 May 2021, the Commission provided the Government with its final report - Ināia tonu nei: a low emissions future for Aotearoa [Climate Change Commission].