7 Dec 2023

COP28: New Zealand added to list of countries supporting tripling renewable energy

3:01 pm on 7 December 2023
Simon Watts

Climate Change Minister Simon Watts said the pledge's targets were global in nature (file picture). Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

New Zealand has been added to the official list of countries supporting a pledge to triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency by 2030.

Climate Change Minister Simon Watts said on Monday he would provide an update on Aotearoa's stance on joining the pledge after he travelled to Dubai for the COP28 climate summit today, however, at that point he declined to say whether he would sign.

A spokesperson for the minister confirmed New Zealand is supporting the pledge.

Aotearoa was one of only a few OECD countries missing from the initial list of 118 signatories promising to accelerate renewable energy and energy efficiency, which was launched at the COP28 summit over the weekend.

That list is now up to 123, including New Zealand.

Watts said the pledge's targets were global in nature, leaving flexibility for individual countries to tailor their approaches.

That means Aotearoa can sign up, even though National's policy of doubling renewable energy by 2050 is substantially less than the pledge's global goal of trebling by 2030, so long as its goals are consistent with the overall global push.

"It is a global pledge and obviously New Zealand's starting point is very different from many other countries," Watts said on Monday.

"But it is consistent with our coalition priorities to double renewable energy by 2050," he said.

New Zealand has a substantially higher share of renewable electricity than most other signatories, including Australia. However the country will need to expand supply to electrify cars, buses, trains and industrial processes that currently burn fossil fuels.

The pledge has been lauded for its wide coverage of countries, though India and China have not signed up.

It is not yet clear whether the goals will make it into the agreed text approved by all countries at the summit, which is still being negotiated.

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