On 1 June 2018 we updated our Work Programme with the Minister for Climate Change Hon James Shaw and further clarified our Terms of Reference.

Hon James Shaw
Minister for Climate Change Issues
Parliament Buildings

1 June 2018 

Dear James 

I would like to update you on how the Interim Climate Change Committee is shaping its work programme.  

Our focus is on helping to get New Zealand started on ‘bending the curve’ of its greenhouse gas emissions downward by setting out how to implement real and sustained change in the agriculture and energy sectors. While we will not recommend what New Zealand’s 2050 emissions target(s) should be, we will focus on changes that will assist in meeting future targets.   

We have considered how broadly we need to look across the economy to address these two challenges. This is summarised as follows.


  • We will deliver evidence and analysis on ways of delivering efficient emission reductions in the agriculture sector that are consistent with the Government’s objective for a just transition. 
  • We will consider the full suite of options that could deliver those reductions. The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme will be a key but not the sole focus of our work.


  • We will deliver evidence and analysis on the likely options, costs and practicality of how New Zealand can move toward 100 percent low emission electricity by 2035 [1]. In answering this we will consider the whole of the electricity system including:
    • Technological and systemic changes in electricity supply, as well as challenges in real time reliability and grid security.
    • Changes in electricity demand. Changes across the transport system and fuel substitution in the industrial sector, to lower emissions, have the potential to fundamentally change future demand for electricity. Therefore, while the terms of reference do not explicitly mention these two sectors, we will consider possible system changes in these sectors explicitly, as far as this would influence overall electricity demand and supply. This will encompass analysis of options to accelerate electrification of those sectors.

Carbon Budgets

  • We will not make explicit recommendations regarding carbon budgets. We will however, capture what we learn from our evidence and analysis that could support the development of the first carbon budgets by the Climate Change Commission [2] .

We welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss our work programme in more detail.

Yours sincerely
David Prentice
Chair, Interim Climate Change Committee

[1] Acknowledging the Terms of Reference refer to renewable electricity, we intend to explicitly focus on renewable electricity sources that have as low greenhouse gas emissions as possible, recognising that (a) some renewable sources of electricity are not necessarily low emission e.g. some geothermal sources, and (b) some sources of electricity have significant emissions embodied in their lifecycle (e.g. in construction/production). 

[2] Assuming the setting of carbon budgets is included in the yet to be determined role of the Climate Change Commission.

You can download a copy of this update here: Work Programme Update - Minister for Climate Change(external link)

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