Delegates from almost 200 countries have agreed to a global climate change rulebook which would put the landmark Paris Climate treaty into action.
The decision comes after days of tense negotiations in Poland's COP24 conference.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw, who was co-facilitating some of the talks, told reporters this morning that the newly agreed rulebook was "a breakthrough."
National's Climate Change spokesman Todd Muller said it was a "solid step forward".
The rulebook, signed by almost 200 countries, established the rules on how to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Shaw said the rulebook would help "galvanise action" as it puts every country in the Paris agreement on the same playing field.
"The Paris agreement said what we wanted to do, it didn't say a great deal about how we wanted to do it."
The new rules do this and would mean the momentum towards action on climate change should be increased, he said.
The 2015 Paris accord put a 2020 deadline on all countries to increase the commitment they are making towards lowering net emissions.
"I think this [the rulebook] is quite a big breakthrough in terms of ensuring we get the momentum towards that."
Shaw said one of the single greatest parts of the rulebook was the rules around transparency.
Now, countries would be accountable for doing what they said they would do in terms of policies put in place to cut emissions.
"If you have a robust transparency regime it means the Paris rulebook has a very solid central spine to it," Shaw said.
Muller – who was also at the conference – said the gains around transparency were very important.
"New Zealanders are keen to see that we do our proportional effort… but it's important we see other countries put their shoulder to the wheel too in terms of genuine change."
He said the transparency measures would help achieve this.
One of the major sticking points in the talks was agreeing on how developed countries would help developing countries meet the goal.
He said it was "challenging" to hammer out rulebook with some many different countries at the table.
The negotiations ran overtime as the sticking points were debated.
"Given how long we have overrun and how difficult it got, the fact that [the rulebook] is as good as it is, is a very pleasant surprise."
Notably, the US was not one of the countries to sign on to the rulebook – given President Donald Trump pulled the country out of the Paris accord.
"I know the US has a problematic relationship with the Paris agreement, but pretty much everyone else in the world is just getting on with it," Shaw told reporters when asked about the US' absence.
The next step is for the individual countries to adopt the rulebook and get on with "the rest of the action".
But not everyone is happy with the result.
Greenpeace NZ Executive Director, and former Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said although the rulebook was agreed, there was no clear collective commitment to enhance climate action targets.
He is called on the Government to bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme – something the Government is in the process of considering.