In Christchurch, we have an opportunity to work together to understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.

In 2019, Christchurch City Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency and adopted ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets for our district. In doing so, we joined a growing number of councils across New Zealand and cities worldwide committed to taking urgent action to reduce their emissions.

Christchurch has set the target of achieving net zero greenhouse emissions by 2045 (excluding methane), and to halve our emissions by 2030 compared with 2016-17 levels. 

We set these bold targets in response to strong feedback from our community(external link), who are at the heart of our decision-making.

Meeting the challenge of climate change through every means available is one of our strategic priorities.

Below are some examples of Council and community actions to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the ongoing effects of climate change.

Reducing our emissions

Christchurch City Council has committed to becoming net carbon neutral (net-zero greenhouse emissions) by 2030 for the Council's activities.

During the 2018/19 financial year reporting period, Council emitted a total gross of 21,862 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e).

We’ve implemented an internal Resource Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emission (REGGE)(external link) programme of work. This includes monitoring our energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste generation and water use.


We're investing in our transport network to give people more choice about how they get around. We're placing a particular focus on low-emissions options, such as cycleways, pedestrian areas, public transport and the Zilch electric vehicle fleet.

Energy and solid waste

We offer a range of services to help businesses and households to reduce solid waste and improve their energy efficiency.

Policies and programmes

We have adopted a range of initiatives to help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for a changing climate.

Localised economy


Adapting to our changing climate

Coastal hazards

The first step in adapting to the challenges created by the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise is understanding the risks. 

Our Coastal Hazards page provides information about the risks and how we're working with the community.

Use the Coastsnap tool to help us better understand and manage our coastal environment.

High tide statistics were reviewed in 2018 for Christchurch coastal areas and you can read the latest tidal data.

Adaptation planning

Our coastal hazards adaptation programme explains our approach to planning for how we respond to sea-level rise and associated coastal hazards like flooding, erosion and rising groundwater.


Find out about which areas of Christchurch are prone to flooding and how the Canterbury Earthquakes have worsened flooding in many areas of the city.

The Christchurch District Plan provisions provide a framework for managing land use in areas subject to natural hazards such as flooding.

Te Wai Ora o Tāne Integrated Water Strategy

Our Integrated Water Strategy sets a path for the future management of our water resources and water services and associated infrastructure. It includes responding/adapting to the anticipated effects of sea-level rise on water resources and related infrastructure.

Our history of taking climate action

Council has a history of taking climate action. These actions provide valuable opportunities to share, learn and collaborate with other organisations and communities. They also demonstrate the importance and power of collective action.

Our climate actions


In 2008 the Council established and began to implement the Sustainable Energy Strategy.


In 2010 the Council established and began to implement the Climate Smart Strategy.


In 2011 the Council crafted and was a founding signatory of the Local Government New Zealand Climate Change Declaration(external link) that has now been signed by 54 Mayors and Regional Council Chairs throughout New Zealand. This outlines key principles and actions needed for addressing climate change.


In 2015 the Council established and began to implement the Christchurch Energy Action Plan.


In 2016 New Zealand joined 196 other nations when it signed the Paris Accord. This aims to limit planetary warming to no more than 2 degrees to avoid the worst impacts of climate change for ourselves and future generations.

To achieve this goal, all communities and businesses need to rapidly transition to a low carbon economy reducing global emissions by more than 80% by 2050. This represents a significant challenge and opportunity for innovation, the green economy and for Christchurch.

Taking climate action will result in widespread benefits for our communities.

For example, it will bring about new jobs and business opportunities required to support a sustainable and future-proofed economy under new climatic conditions. An economy that supports strong connected communities where there are good levels of health and wellbeing, a reduction in waste and pollution, and a focus in improving our natural environment. 

In short, it will help make Christchurch an even better place to live for generations to come.


Christchurch joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy(external link) committing to measuring Christchurch’s greenhouse gas emission inventory, set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and have a climate change mitigation and adaptation plan.

Christchurch was also one of the first Rockefeller 100 Resilience Cities(external link) helping to prepare for our key resilience challenges. 

Also, in 2017 the Council set itself the target to be net carbon neutral by 2030(external link).


In February 2018, Christchurch City Council partnered with Yoogo Share (now Zilch(external link)) to launch a 100% battery-electric car-sharing scheme for businesses and the public helping to change the way we travel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)(external link) was hosted in Christchurch in March 2018 with a range of public engagement events to learn about climate change from specialists from around the world.

Also, by the end of 2018 Christchurch City Council had adopted a new procurement policy encouraging suppliers to be energy efficient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce solid waste, and be water efficient.


In May 2019 Council declared a climate and ecological emergency, joining a number of cities worldwide who have declared climate change emergencies and pledged to take urgent action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.