New Zealand has achieved its first round of emissions reduction targets and is on track to meet its 2020 target, Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett says.

In the first commitment period in the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand had to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

Mrs Bennett said the target was reached through a combination of emissions reductions, the capture of carbon through forestry, and international trading.

Reports released by the Ministry for the Environment today showed New Zealand would also hit its targets for the second agreement period between 2013 and 2020.


The ministry said New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions had increased by more than 42 per cent since 1990, but these had been offset by carbon sequestration and the purchase of carbon credits.

New Zealand's dependence on buying carbon credits has been criticised by some climate scientists, who described them as "hot air" credits which do nothing to reduce atmosphere-warming emissions.

In climate change talks in Paris last week, countries signed a deal for reducing emissions after 2020.

New Zealand has committed to cutting emissions by 11 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030.

Under one of the key measures in the Paris Agreement, New Zealand will be asked to review its target in five years' time.


• A first commitment period target under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions to 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. Achieved.

• An unconditional target of 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 for the period 2013-2020. On target.

• A conditional responsibility target of between 10 and 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.


• New Zealand's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

• A longer-term target to reduce emissions by 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

(Ministry for the Environment)