Nearly all submitters who suggested emissions reduction goals in the Government's climate consultation wanted a target much more ambitious than what New Zealand committed to this month.
An analysis by the Ministry for the Environment of submissions received during the Government's May to June consultation on what its post-2020 climate goals should be, ahead of crucial talks in Paris in December, showed there was a strong call for ambitious target and leadership from the Government.
Many of the more than 15,000 submitters related taking ambitious action to protecting our international reputation.
Earlier this month, Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser confirmed the new target would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
If the new target, which he described as a "significant increase" on previous commitments, was set to a 1990 baseline, it was the equivalent of an 11 per cent reduction, Mr Groser said.
The 10,900 submitters in the consultation who specified targets, however, wanted the reduction target set at 40 per cent below 1990 levels, or a target of zero carbon by 2050.
While a large number of these were pro-forma submissions, the unique submissions also heavily favoured these two target levels.
A further 165 submitters suggested New Zealand's target should be "ambitious", without providing a specific quantitative number.
Around 0.5 per cent of all submitters who commented on the target level suggested that no target should be tabled at all, with the majority of these questioning the science of climate change.
The main reason identified for an ambitious target was that ambitious action is urgently needed to avoid the harmful impacts of climate change, the analysis showed.
A number of submitters felt that action on climate change was a "moral responsibility", while many related their response to needing to avoid a temperature rise of more than two degrees.
Other issues highlighted included protecting our vulnerable communities, neighbouring Pacific Islands and future generations, and a number of submissions stressed that taking little or no action now would simply defer costs to the future.
A wide range of submitters related our action on climate change to our "clean and green" reputation and image, and considered this an important characteristic of how New Zealand is perceived as a country.
Many felt the role New Zealand plays internationally is important, and consequently our targets need to be as equally ambitious as other countries.
Almost 3,500 submissions highlighted they would like to see New Zealand as a "leader" on climate change.
There was strong concern that New Zealand was presently not doing enough to reduce emissions, while strong concern was also expressed that costs described in a discussion document which under-pinned the consultation were misleading and did not consider possible benefits of acting or the costs of inaction.
Last week, the Berlin-based Carbon Action Tracker initiative rated New Zealand's 11 per cent reduction proposal as "inadequate" and claimed it could be achieved without the country taking any action to contain a growing level of emissions over the next 15 years.
If most other countries were to follow New Zealand's approach, global warming would exceed 3 or 4C, a world that would see oceans acidifying, coral reefs dissolving, sea levels rising rapidly, and more than 40 per cent species extinction.
Labour and Greens wanted Government to match the EU by setting a target of at least a 40 per cent reduction on 1990 levels by 2030.