The Status of New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme

June 2015
Kerri Metz, CLOSUP Policy Analyst, Nina Tannenbaum, CLOSUP Policy Analyst

The aspects of New Zealand’s program under the Kyoto Protocol, as well as several others, will be analyzed to determine their success in reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions since the nation’s commitment and subsequent creation of the ETS program in 2008. This study will delve into the history that led up to the implementation of the country’s ETS, explain the program’s set requirements and methods of enforcement, as well as discuss the influence that New Zealand’s ETS has had on the country since adoption. Additionally, there will be further discussion of the characteristics that make New Zealand’s ETS unique, how efficacious the scheme has proven to be, and the challenges that will arise as they attempt to reduce GHG emissions and serve as an international player in combatting climate change. Despite New Zealand’s efforts to increase environmental activism and awareness, which served as the catalyst for the ETS’s creation, when taking into consideration the lack of the program’s success thus far, as well as anticipating the challenges that the coming decades will bring, the country will likely fail to meet its ambitious 2020 goal.