(Bloomberg) --

New Zealand has set out a target for greenhouse gas reductions over the next 14 years as part of a program to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Three emissions budgets, which are required by law, will act as stepping stones toward the 2050 target, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said Monday in Wellington. The detail on how the first budget, for 2022-25, will be achieved will be announced in an emissions reduction plan on May 16, he said.

New Zealand is tackling climate change on several fronts including encouraging electric vehicles, phasing out coal-fired boilers in industry, schools and hospitals, and working with farmers to curb methane emissions from sheep and cows. The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act, passed in 2019, commits the government to pursuing policies that will reduce global warming.

“The first three emissions budgets that I am announcing today will ensure New Zealand is playing its part fully in the worldwide effort to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees,” Shaw said.

The 2022-25 budget is to cap emissions at 290 megatons (290 million tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases, or 72.4 megatons a year. That is 2 megatons a year less than the average in the five years through 2021.

The 2026-30 budget caps emissions at an average of 61 megatons a year, or nearly 20% below the average in the five years to 2021. It is subject to revision and will be finalized in 2024. The 2031-35 budget is for 48 megatons a year, 35% below the 2017-21 average. 

Shaw said the budgets have been set following consultation with other political parties, and parliament will debate them this week ahead of the announcement of the reduction plan.

It is backed by a NZ$4.5 billion ($2.9 billion) Climate Emergency Response Fund made up of proceeds from the nation’s emissions trading scheme. While details of the fund will be published in the May 19 budget, some of its initial investments will be announced May 16, Shaw said.  

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