Reporting on International Contributions

The Government must produce annual reports about New Zealand’s international climate change contributions.

Under the Paris Agreement, New Zealand will be required to communicate to the United Nations about its international contributions. The Zero Carbon Act will require similar reporting so that New Zealanders can understand the international contributions we are making as a country. These reports will promote public engagement, transparency, and political accountability.

The Zero Carbon Act will require annual reports on the following matters:

Climate finance

The Government must report on its climate finance contributions to developing countries. The annual reports must provide information on:

  • The quantity of climate finance provided from public and private sources in New Zealand.

  • The recipients and mechanisms of the finance.

  • The balance between funding for mitigation and adaptation projects.

  • Whether the public climate finance is new and additional to other foreign aid.

  • Planned or projected future climate finance contributions.

The Paris Agreement and earlier international treaties require developed countries like New Zealand to provide financial resources to help developing countries with climate change mitigation and adaptation. The overall level of support must increase over time, and must aim to achieve a balance between mitigation and adaptation.

Use of international carbon markets

The Government must report on its international carbon trading. The annual reports must provide information on:

  • The quantity of international carbon units purchased and sold by New Zealand.

  • The origin of purchased units.

  • Evidence that purchased units promote sustainable development, ensure environmental integrity, and avoid double-counting.

Carbon trading is when a permit to emit carbon dioxide is bought or sold. If New Zealand purchases international permits (‘carbon credits’) from another country, the purchase price is used to reduce emissions in that country. Under the Zero Carbon Act, international carbon credits may be purchased by New Zealand to make a global contribution, or to meet New Zealand’s ‘responsibility targets’ under the Paris Agreement. But international credits cannot be used to meet the Act’s domestic targets. (See The ‘firewall’ principle).

The Zero Carbon Act will require the Government to transparently report on its international carbon trading. In particular, the report must confirm that purchased credits have environmental integrity and are contributing to global emission reductions.

New Zealand currently provides climate finance through bilateral development aid (mostly for renewable energy projects in the Pacific), and international funds including the Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility. The Zero Carbon Act will require the Government to transparently report on its climate finance contributions.

Technology transfer and capacity-building

The annual reports must provide information on New Zealand’s contributions to technology transfer and capacity-building initiatives.

New Zealand has a duty to help developing countries by transferring mitigation and adaptation technologies, and building their capacity to respond to climate change. For example, New Zealand contributes to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, and helps other countries to develop national greenhouse gas inventory systems. The Zero Carbon Act will require the Government to transparently report on these contributions.


Assistance with climate-induced relocation

Supporting adaptation within developing countries may extend to assisting with relocating peoples from low-lying States to New Zealand or elsewhere in the Pacific region. New Zealand should cooperate with and assist low-lying States transparently, and in way that recognises their sovereignty and right of self-determination.

The annual reports must provide information on:

  • New Zealand’s cooperation with low-lying States on climate-induced relocation.