The use of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere where they build up and trap the earth’s heat. 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

Our operational Climate Change Policy for Land Transport Infrastructure Activities gives effect to the climate change commitments made in our Environmental and Social Responsibility Policy and ensures that we meet the requirements of Z19 Taumata Taiao – Environmental and Sustainability Standard in relation to climate change.

Climate Change Policy for Land Transport Infrastructure Activities [PDF, 178 KB]

Our operational policy has the following objectives:

  1. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with construction, maintenance and operation, and use of the land transport network.
  2. To manage the risks that climate related hazards pose to, and the risks that arise from, land transport infrastructure.

 We are currently developing guidance documents, tools and specifications to support the application of this policy, ensuring both climate change mitigation and adaptation requirements are embedded into all decision-making about infrastructure improvement projects and maintenance and operations planning and management.

Further information

For further information contact