From Nick Smith to Neil H 21 August 2009


Thank you for your email of 27 July 2009 regarding New Zealand’s 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Your submission has been noted. 
I have received a wide range of submissions from around New Zealand, including those from the public, businesses, farmers and scientists.  The government has considered public feedback and scientific, economic, environmental and foreign affairs advice in order to determine a 2020 emissions target policy.  On 10 August 2009, prior to the United Nations climate change negotiations in Bonn, the government announced New Zealand’s 2020 emissions target of between 10 and 20 percent below 1990 levels. This target range is conditional on a comprehensive global agreement being secured that sets the world on a pathway to limit temperature rise to not more than 2°C and has effective rules for forestry and the carbon market.
I can assure you that the government has investigated the evidence on the science of climate change from a number of different sources and I can appreciate that there are many different perspectives on the matter.  However, the government is convinced that climate change is a serious and legitimate issue and that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides the most reliable information on climate change science.  In its most recent assessment, the IPCC states that the evidence for climate change is unequivocal, that humankind’s emissions are very likely the cause of these changes and that, unless action is taken to reduce emissions, dangerous changes in the climate system will result.
I am committed to ensuring that New Zealand does its fair share to reduce global emissions, but I am also keen to make sure that any policies that are implemented do not incur disproportionate economic costs.  My colleagues and I are working hard to ensure that New Zealand’s national circumstances are taken into account in the international negotiations on climate change, in order to be certain that New Zealand gets a fair deal under any future agreement.
For more information on New Zealand’s 2020 emissions reduction target, please visit the Ministry for the Environment’s website at
Yours sincerely
Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for Climate Change Issues
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