Over recent weeks there have been a number of developments relating to New Zealand climate change policy and affecting the future operation of the New Zealand emissions trading scheme (NZ ETS). More information can be found in previous Russell McVeagh Climate Change Issues Alerts. Developments include the following:

  • New Zealand has diverged from Australia and the European Union in deciding not to sign up to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol after the current commitment period expires at the end of this year.  New Zealand will instead set new targets under the broader, non-binding United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which Climate Change Minister Tim Groser says will align New Zealand with the climate change efforts of developed and developing countries which collectively are responsible for 85% of global emissions, including the United States, China, India, Canada, Brazil and Russia.
  • Legislation extending (without a specified end date) the current transitional period which protects domestic greenhouse gas emitters from full obligations under the NZ ETS has been enacted - see here for more information about the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2012.
  • The Government is currently consulting on proposed regulations restricting the use of certain types of international Kyoto units from the NZ ETS.

The European Union announced it will suspend for a year its plans to impose a carbon emission tax on all airlines flying to and from EU member countries.