Meeting our emissions reduction targets: Transformation pathways for Aotearoa New Zealand 

Summit/Hui Concept Note 


Save the date! 

This invitational hui, bringing together a diverse group of 80-100 knowledge and action leaders from across Aotearoa, will take place at the University of Auckland from (15-17 November 2022) 

Background and Idea 

The recent IPCC report on climate change mitigation is unequivocal about the “Now or Never” moment we are facing: 

“…limiting warming to around 1.5°C (2.7°F) requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest and be reduced by 43% by 2030. At the same time, methane would also need to be reduced by about a third.” 


Closer to home, we are set to take more concerted action here in Aotearoa New Zealand.  The government’s recent Emissions Reduction Plan Te hau mārohi ki anamata lays out the extent of the problem and the types of action that will be necessary to meaningfully address it. As the plan makes clear, there is no single solution that can be applied, nor is climate change a single challenge.   

Instead, we need to understand climate change as a complex set of interacting and intensifying challenges that require societal transitions away from business-as-usual models in nearly every sector of societal activity. Taking action now still offers a chance of avoiding the worst effects and moving us toward a fairer, more sustainable country and planet. 

Moreover, Aotearoa New Zealand has an outsized voice globally, thanks in part to our success and leadership in conservation and agricultural sciences, not to mention our societal resolve – that national character trait has seen us through the pandemic. Thus, even as a small country, we can and must play a significant role in the global effort to mitigate climate change.  But perhaps more importantly, is our commitment to kaitiakitanga that will strengthen and sustain our own home right here in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

For this reason, we are bringing together a broad group of our country’s top research, business, government and civil society leaders for 3 days of exchange, ideation, and action-planning to help illuminate our path ahead as we put into practice the Emissions Reduction Plan.  

Join us for this landmark summit at the nexus of knowledges, values and actions on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 


Aims of the Summit 

This is not a summit about climate science, but rather about engaging on the critical questions that can lead us towards a zero-emissions society. 


The transdisciplinary summit has two overarching aims: 

  • To overcome barriers to progress on a shared vision for achieving emission reduction targets 
  • To chart actionable evidence-informed and socially acceptable pathways for meeting those targets within the framework set out by the Emissions Reduction Plan 


It will do this by tightly focusing deliberations around the three sectors where the changes we make collectively can have the greatest impact: 

  • Transportation: deeply reducing CO2 emissions through systemic changes, technology advances and behaviour changes 
  • Agriculture: deeply reducing CH4 (methane) emissions through technology advances, new practices and products and systemic and market change 
  • Land use and planning: rehabilitating and expanding ecosystems for nature-based responses to climate change 


Invited Participants/Speakers/Listeners 

This summit aims to be as inclusive and representative as possible, but we know that limiting our numbers is necessary.  For that reason, we are inviting 80-100 key knowledge producers and holders, civic leaders and change makers from the broadest spectrum.  Invitations are going out to: 

  • Knowledge communities: CRIs, University researchers, Iwi knowledge holders 
  • Policy and regulatory communities: Ministries, Agencies, Statutory Bodies (e.g. DOC, MPI, MBIE, MoT, Finance, Social Development, Education, Waka Kotahi, PCE, Infrastructure Commission, Energy Commission, etc. 
  • Māori Partners: National, regional, local, Mana Whenua… 
  • Industry communities: Agricultural sector, Building sector, Multi-modal transportation sector, importers, exporters, value chain and logistics specialists, etc. 
  • Activist and Civil Society communities: Conservation, sustainability, social justice, etc. 


Anticipated Output of the Summit​ 

With just eight years to meet our emissions reduction targets, Aotearoa can waste no time in taking up the challenge of the Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP). Yet, much of that plan is still aspirational because the knowledge and technology needed to realise it has yet to be generated. 


Thus, a key output of the summit will be a stake-holder-led and science-informed roadmap of potential (and achievable!) steps along our path.  Questions guiding this roadmap will include: 

  • What are the most impactful potential steps to realise the ERP actions in each sector? 
  • What would be the gains, trade-offs and thresholds associated with actions in each sector and how can we overcome these? 
  • What framework conditions are required to facilitate change in each sector and what would be an appropriate Theory of Change for each (including analysis of barriers and enablers) 


About the Organisers: Why Us? Why Now? 

The summit is organised by University of Auckland-based experts involved in climate research (including physical, natural and social sciences, Mātauranga, law, policy, economics, etc.) together with experienced knowledge brokers at the interface of research, society and public policy. 


As a recognised place of evidence-informed discussion and debate, we think our university positioning provides a trustworthy platform from which to convene the type of conversation the ERP now requires to put it into action.  We believe that we have exactly the right mix of mandate and skills to bring together collective knowledge, wisdom and experience from key perspectives in a collegial, non-partisan and boundary-spanning kōrero.  


Universities are the heart of informed public-discourse to raise and test ideas for action. That role is more urgent than ever. To fulfil it however, universities must become more open than ever, both in sharing academic expertise publicly, but also in allowing diverse and experiential knowledges and public values to inform the ‘experts.’ 


Developing the Summit Agenda 

The summit will be structured around a matrix comprising 3 action sectors X 3 key inputs: 

  • the values (and value conflicts) that need to be understood and balanced 
  • the types of knowledges to support plans and decisions in the sector 
  • the possible achievable actions and their relative impacts 

In addition to these three inputs for each sector individually, we want to know how they interact – whether by supporting or inhibiting progressive changes, when taken together. The draft planning matrix below shows some examples of possible issues for discussion, which will inform the agenda. 

  Transportation  Agriculture  Land use and planning 
Values  Inclusive? Attractive? Accessible? Public pay? Private pay?…  Unlimited growth? Volume vs exclusivity? Kaitiaki? Ethics of new tech?…  Private property and autonomy? Mauri? Precautionary?… 
Knowledges  Efficient and clean technology? Understanding externalities? Scenario models?…  New technologies, New (+ traditional) practices? Monitoring? Understanding externalities? Matauranga?…  Geography and geology? Ecology? Matauranga? Sociology? Economics? Urbanism?… 
Actions  Education and behaviour change? Fiscal measures? Regulation? Incentives? Programmes Other…  Education and behaviour change? Fiscal measures? Regulation? Incentives? Programmes? Other…  Education and behaviour change? Fiscal measures? Regulation? Incentives? Programmes? Other… 
Interactions  Consideration of the interacting effects of transformative change in the three sectors: How will land use changes affect agricultural land? How will transportation changes affect urban planning… etc. 


Your role 

This event is planned as an invitational summit of key actors representing the full diversity of our society and economy. You are receiving this concept note and save-the-date notice because we believe you are among these actors who have a key role to play in shaping our collective climate future.  Please save the date 15-17 November 2022. The summit will be held at the University of Auckland but we will accommodate online participation for those wanting it.   

More information and invitations will follow, but in the meantime, we want to be inclusive in setting the agenda, especially with such a knowledgeable and influential group.  We are currently a very small team, please indicate to us by RSVP on this form whether you would like to: 

  • Join our summit organising group 
  • Be contacted to provide feedback on the agenda as it develops