The New Zealand Climate committee was established in 1988 to assess the present state of knowledge of climate science, of climate variability on all time scales and of current and future climate impacts for the New Zealand region and to encourage communication and collaboration between climate researchers and dialogue between climate scientists and users of climate information.

In June 1988 the Cabinet Policy Committee agreed that a coordinated climate change programme was required by New Zealand to respond effectively to an issue which had widespread implications for New Zealand society. The Royal Society was requested to prepare a report on the scientific basis of climate change. An abridged version, Climate Change in New Zealand, was published in 1988 with the comprehensive review New Zealand Climate Report 1990 published in 1989.

The Committee produced The 1992 Supplement to the New Zealand Climate Report 1990 which reviewed the validity of the scientific conclusions presented in the 1990 report, provided additional information about greenhouse gases, aerosols and global warming potential and commented on progress in research in climate modelling and in monitoring the climate.