New Zealand submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC on 7 July, outlining a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels. This is the equivalent of an 11% decrease in emissions compared to 1990 levels. The proposal assumes that the use of international market mechanisms will be allowed, providing unrestricted access to carbon markets and emissions trading in order for it to reach its target.

As Climate Change Minister Tim Groser explained, given the country already has a large share of renewables and the limited mitigation options for food production (accounting for half of New Zealand’s emissions), there are not many opportunities for New Zealand to limit its emissions.

Until May 2015, international units from the Kyoto Protocol (KP) had been allowed into the NZ ETS without quantitative restriction. This changed at the end of the true-up period of the first KP commitment period as New Zealand did not sign up for the second commitment period.