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. New Zealand's net position is used for tracking progress towards our unconditional 2020 emissions reduction target. 

Latest net position – May 2017 update

New Zealand is projected to meet its 2020 target with a surplus of 89.7 million units.  

The latest net position update uses historic emission data from New Zealand’s Greenhouse Inventory 1990-2015 published on 26 May 2017.

For information on how New Zealand’s net position is calculated and the carbon budget (also referred to as the emissions budget) see New Zealand’s initial report.

About the 2020 emissions reduction 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 takes into account 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. The net position update calculates the unit balance relative to its 2020 target (i.e. in either a surplus or deficit). The latest net position update includes the latest emissions and removals data from New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2015 (the inventory).

Tracking the target

New Zealand chose to take its 2020 emissions reduction 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 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 towards our 2020 emission reduction target. New Zealand continues to apply the Kyoto Protocol framework of rules in tracking progress towards its target.

For the net position report, one unit represents one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq). Carbon dioxide equivalent is a measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential. To reach the 2020 target by the end of the 2013 to 2020 period, New Zealand will need to hold units at least equivalent to the gross emissions during this period.

The graph below presents New Zealand’s projected gross emissions and the units that New Zealand will need to hold over the 2013 to 2020 period.

New Zealand’s projected gross emissions, and units held during the 2013 to 2020 period

As at 26 May 2017

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

Note: Sequestration from forestry is represented by units based on the Kyoto Protocol accounting framework (refer to New Zealand’s Initial Report for further information on accounting).

The table below provides a sector breakdown of units and emissions for the period.

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     509.8
Kyoto Protocol forestry activities 9.4 9.5 12.5 12.7 13.6 14.2 16.3 15.3 103.7
Surplus units from CP1     123.7
Total units     737.2
Emissions      
Stationary energy 17.8 18.1 17.7 19.2 18.9 19.4 19.2 18.4 148.7
Transport 14.1 14.2 14.8 14.9 15.0 15.0 15.0 15.0 118.0
Industrial processes and product use 4.9 5.1 5.3 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.4 5.5 42.1
Agriculture 38.5 38.8 38.4 37.6 37.7 37.9 38.2 38.4 305.6
Waste 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.1 4.1 4.2 4.2 4.3 33.1
Gross emissions 79.4 80.3 80.2 81.0 81.0 81.9 82.1 81.7 647.5
Net position   89.7 

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 (refer to New Zealand’s Initial Report for further information on accounting).

Units

New Zealand is projected to hold a total of 737.2 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
  • 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 509.8 Mt CO2 eq. 

This budget is based on 1990 emissions reported in New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990–2015 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 103.7 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 Inventory 1990-2015.

Recognising the surplus from CP1

A surplus of 123.7 million units from CP1 is available. New Zealand is projected to recognise 34.1 million of these units to meet its 2020 target. 

Gross emissions

Historic emissions are sourced from the inventory and projected emissions are sourced from an updated forecast from each sector. These emissions are reported in the sector categories described below.

Sector category Projected emissions
Stationary energy Annual energy emissions (including fugitive emissions) without transport are projected to increase over 2013 to 2020 and total around 148.7 Mt CO2 eq during this period. Emissions are projected to peak around 2018 and then gradually reduce out to 2020. (Note: these projections reflect 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 118.0 Mt CO2 eq over the 2013 to 2020 period. This levelling off of emissions is likely driven by improved fuel efficiency that offsets the expected increase in transport emissions driven by population growth. 
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 42.1 Mt CO2 eq for the 2013 to 2020 period. Most of this growth is caused by increased consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), while emissions of other greenhouse gas gases from the IPPU are projected to remain steady. Along with nearly 200 other parties, New Zealand adopted the Kigali Amendment in October last year to phase down HFC consumption and production worldwide.

Agriculture

Annual agriculture emissions are projected to increase over 2013 to 2020 and are expected to total 305.6 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 33.1 Mt CO2 eq for the period. Increasing population growth is expected to increase waste volumes. It is anticipated that the resulting increased emissions will be offset by methane capture.

Changes since July 2016

Updated gross emission values from 2013 to 2015 are from the recently published New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2015 and the recent update in forecasts from each sector. 

For more information see New Zealand's initial report

(Mt CO2-eq /millions of units)

July-16

Change 

May-17

Stationary energy

145.5

3.3

148.7

Transport

111.2

6.8

118.0

Industrial products and product use

43.5

-1.4

42.1

Agriculture

317.7

-12.1

305.6

Waste

38.0

-4.9

33.1

Gross emissions

655.9

-8.4

647.5

Carbon budget

509.8

0.0

509.8

Forestry activities

108.1

-4.4

103.7

Surplus from CP1

123.7

0.0

123.7

Units

741.6

-4.4

737.2

 

Net position

85.7

4.0

89.7

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding to one decimal place. 

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. 

New Zealand ratified the Paris Agreement in October 2016 and then submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution to the UNFCCC to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Ministry for the Environment will provide a net position report towards the 2030 target once we enter the 2021 to 2030 period.

Reviewed:
26/05/17