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Introduction

The use of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The emissions build up and trap the earth’s heat under it. This contributes to global temperature increases that in turn disrupt the climate. Rising sea levels, more frequent and severe storm events, flooding, coastal erosion and drought are just some of the climate change impacts we are likely to experience, and in some cases are already seeing.

Transport, primarily land transport, is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Aotearoa New Zealand (about 17% of our emissions) and our fastest growing source of domestic emissions. Climate change is expected to be the most significant influencer on the land transport system over the coming decade.

Our climate change action focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to a changing climate and reducing harm to the environment from land transport activities.

Waka Kotahi will:

  • deliver and contribute to actions in Aotearoa New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan
  • deliver and contribute to actions in the national adaptation plan, and
  • meet the requirements of the Carbon Neutral Government Programme.

Te hau mārohi ki anamata: towards a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy: Aotearoa New Zealand's first emissions reduction plan(external link)
Urutau, ka taurikura: kia tū pakari a Aotearoa i ngā huringa āhuarangi Adapt and thrive: building a climate-resilient New Zealand – New Zealand's first national adaptation plan(external link)
Carbon Neutral Government Programme(external link)

Transitioning our transport system

We’re taking a wide range of actions to transition to a low-emissions, climate-resilient transport system. See our Transport transition page for more information.

Transport transition

Future updates

Because this is an increasingly important and developing area, we will be adding to and updating this section as new information and guidance is available.

Our Climate Change Policy

The Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS) 2021 includes climate change as a strategic priority and directs Waka Kotahi to support the rapid transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient transport system.

Our current commitments, contained in our Environmental plan, are:

  • C1 Manage the increased hazards resulting from climate change impacts on land transport infrastructure, on land and the coastal marine environment. 
  • C2 Greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of climate change on the functioning of the land transport network are appropriately considered to support decision making.
  • C3 Mitigate activities associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of land transport network aiming to effect a net reduction of GHG emissions from transport.

Environmental plan: improving environmental sustainability and public health in New Zealand

We are currently developing policy and guidance to embed both climate change mitigation and adaptation requirements into decision-making about capital projects and maintenance and operations. We expect this policy to be available in the second half of 2022.

Further information

For further information contact environment@nzta.govt.nz