Latest update on New Zealand's 2020 net position

This page has the latest update on New Zealand’s net position under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is used for tracking progress towards our unconditional 2020 emissions reduction target. 

Latest net position – May 2016 update

New Zealand is projected to meet its 2020 target with a surplus of 92.6 million units.  

About the target

New Zealand has taken an unconditional target under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reduce emissions to 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.  This translates to average annual emissions over the 2013 to 2020 period of 96.8 per cent of 1990 emissions.

The 2020 net position tracks New Zealand’s progress towards this target. It describes New Zealand’s historic and projected emissions and removals from 2013 to 2020, and units held by the Government that can be used to meet its target.  This latest update includes information from New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2014 (the inventory).

Tracking the target

New Zealand chose to take its 2020 target under the UNFCCC and not under the Kyoto Protocol, as it did for the 2008 to 2012 first commitment period (CP1).  This means that the 2020 target imposes no fiscal asset or liability on the Crown.  The net position, therefore, is no longer a reporting requirement under the Public Finance Act (1982).

While the net position is no longer a domestic reporting requirement, the Ministry for the Environment will continue to produce a net position report to provide information on New Zealand’s progress. New Zealand continues to apply the Kyoto Protocol framework of rules in tracking progress towards its 2020 target.

For the net position report, one unit represents one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions.  At the end of the 2013 to 2020 period a country must hold units at least equivalent to its gross emissions during this period.

The graph below presents New Zealand’s projected gross emissions and the units acquired over 2013 to 2020.  The table below provides a sector breakdown of units and emissions for the period.

New Zealand’s projected gross emissions and units acquired during the 2013 to 2020 period (as at 20 May 2016)

Total projected emissions for 2013-2020 (left) and the balance of units to account for these (right). 

Note: Sequestration from forestry is represented by units based on the Kyoto Protocol accounting framework.

 

Sector breakdown of units and emissions for 2013 to 2020

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Total

 

historic

projected

 

 

Units

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 to 2020 carbon budget

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

516.7

Kyoto Protocol forestry activities

12.7

11.9

13.7

15.7

15.8

12.6

12.7

13.0

108.1

Surplus units from CP1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

123.7

Total units

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

748.5

 

Emissions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stationary energy

17.8

18.1

18.5

18.6

18.8

17.6

18.0

18.0

145.5

Transport

14.1

14.1

13.8

13.8

13.9

13.9

13.9

13.8

111.2

 Industrial processes and product use

5.1

5.2

5.3

5.4

5.5

5.6

5.7

5.7

43.5

Agriculture

39.3

39.6

39.3

39.4

39.7

39.9

40.2

40.4

317.7

Waste

4.1

4.1

5.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

4.9

38.0

Gross emissions

80.3

81.1

81.9

82.2

82.8

82.0

82.7

82.9

655.9

 

Net position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

92.6

Note: All emissions units are in Mt CO2 eq.  Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding to one decimal place. 

Sequestration from forestry is represented by units based on the Kyoto Protocol accounting framework.

Units

New Zealand is projected to hold a total of 748.5 million units at the end of the 2013-2020 period.

This is from:

  • the carbon budget for 2013 to 2020
  • net emissions and removals from forestry activities
  • recognising the surplus from the first commitment period (CP1).

Carbon budget for 2013 to 2020

New Zealand’s provisional carbon budget for 2013 to 2020 for a 5 per cent reduction on 1990 emissions by 2020 is 516.7 Mt CO2 eq. This budget is based on 1990 emissions reported in New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990 – 2013 and calculated according to UNFCCC guidance.

Net emissions and removals from forestry activities

In line with the 2013 to 2020 Kyoto Protocol framework of rules, net emissions and removals from forestry activities offset gross emissions.

Net emissions and removals from forestry are projected to amount to 108.1 Mt CO2 eq of sequestration over 2013 to 2020. Emissions and removals from forestry are strongly influenced by estimates of forest planting and harvesting (ie, New Zealand’s sustainable forest management).

For more information, refer to chapter 11 of New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990 – 2013.

Recognising the surplus from CP1

A surplus of 123.7 million units from CP1 is available. New Zealand is projected to recognise 31.2 million of these units to meet its 2020 target. 

Gross emissions

Historic emissions are sourced from the inventory and projected emissions are sourced from New Zealand’s Second Biennial Report to the UNFCCC.  These emissions are reported in the categories described below.

More details on the sectors are available in the inventory. More details on projections are available in chapter IV and appendix A of New Zealand’s second biennial report under the UNFCCC.

Stationary energy

Annual energy emissions excluding transport are projected to increase over 2013 to 2020 and total around 145.5 Mt CO2 eq during this period.  They are projected to peak around 2017, after which the expected closure of the coal fired units at the Huntly power station should reduce emissions out to 2020. (Note: these projections were prepared in late 2015 for the BR2 which was before the Genesis Energy announcement of its intention to keep the Huntly coal fired units open until 2022). 

Transport

Annual transport emissions have plateaued in recent years, and are projected to total 111.2 Mt CO2 eq over the 2013 to 2020 period.  This levelling off of emissions is likely due to the expected increase in transport emissions driven by population growth being offset by increases in fuel efficiency.

Industrial processes and product use 

Annual industrial processes and product use (IPPU) emissions are projected to steadily increase over 2013 to 2020, and are expected to total 43.5 Mt CO2 eq for the 2013 to 2020 period. The carbon dioxide component of IPPU is projected to remain steady. Most of this growth in emissions is caused by increased use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  New Zealand is actively contributing to negotiations under the Montreal Protocol for a global phase-down of HFCs.

Agriculture

Annual agriculture emissions are projected to increase over 2013 to 2020 and are expected to total 317.7 Mt CO2 eq over the period.  This increase in emissions is in line with observed and projected growth in the sector. These emissions are influenced by other factors such as agricultural prices and adverse events (eg, droughts).

Waste

Annual waste emissions are projected to decrease over 2013 to 2020, and are expected to total 38.0 Mt CO2 eq for the period.  Increasing population is expected to increase waste volumes. It is anticipated that the resulting increased emissions will be offset by methane capture.

Sensitivities

The net position could range from 69 Mt CO2 eq to 100 Mt CO2 eq, based on a sensitivity analysis.

Projections of emissions are inherently uncertain due to factors such as future GDP growth, population growth, forestry activity and carbon prices.

Changes since December 2015

The largest changes since the December net position are in the waste emissions and the carbon sequestration by forestry activities.  Both of these are due to improved calculations described in chapter 10 of the inventory.

(Mt CO2e /millions of units) Dec-15 Change May-16
Stationary energy 144.5 +1.0 145.5
Transport 110.8 +0.4 111.2
Industrial products and product use 43.6 -0.1 43.5
Agriculture 317.5 +0.2 317.7
Waste 39.9 -1.9 38.0
GROSS EMISSIONS 656.3 -0.4 655.9
 
Carbon budget 516.7 0.0 516.7
Forestry activities 109.5 -1.4 108.1
Surplus from CP1 123.7 0.0 123.7
UNITS 749.9 -1.4 748.5
 
NET POSITION 93.6 -1.0 92.6

Future targets and the net position

The 2020 net position will be updated regularly to track New Zealand’s progress towards achieving the 2020 target.  Updates will reflect the most recent reported historic and projected emissions. 

On 7 July 2015, New Zealand tabled its post 2020 commitment of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.  Progress towards achieving this target will be reported once rules for the 2021 to 2030 period have been agreed internationally and the 2015 climate change agreement enters into force.  

Reviewed:
20/05/16