The international community recognised that more urgent action, with more powerful and legally binding measures than what was required under the UNFCCC, was needed.
Negotiations on a subsidiary agreement under the UNFCCC, known as the Kyoto Protocol, began in 1995. The Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005 after 55 countries ratified it (including those responsible for 55 per cent of global emissions).
The Kyoto Protocol committed developed countries to greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012). Only countries that ratified the Protocol are bound to it.
New Zealand’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol
New Zealand ratified the Kyoto Protocol in December 2002. New Zealand’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol include:
- a responsibility emissions reduction target for the first commitment period (2008-2012) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels. New Zealand has met this target
- submitting an annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and removals to the UNFCCC (Article 7).
The Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol
On 30 November 2015, New Zealand accepted the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol. The amendment was created at the 18th Conference of the Parties under the UNFCCC, which was held in Doha, Qatar.
The amendment establishes a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol which runs from 2013 until 2020.
By accepting the Doha Amendment, New Zealand signalled its support for the second commitment period and for the ongoing climate change negotiations towards a new global agreement. [UNFCCC website].
Entry-into-force of the Doha amendment is triggered when 144 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol have accepted it. This threshold was passed on 2 October 2020 and the amendment enters-into-force 90 days later (31 December 2020).
More information on the Doha Amendment [UNFCCC website]
For more information see National interest analysis - Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol [PDF, 74.6 KB] [New Zealand Parliament website].
A number of Parties to the UNFCCC, including New Zealand, have tabled emissions reduction targets for the 2013-2020 period.
New Zealand’s 2013-2020 target
In 2009, the Government decided that New Zealand would take an emissions reduction target for the period 2013-2020 under the UNFCCC (the Kyoto Protocol parent body) rather than under the Kyoto Protocol itself.
For more information on New Zealand’s 2013-2020 commitment see About New Zealand's emissions reduction targets.
The net position report tracks our progress.