New Zealand meets its target under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol

This page has New Zealand’s 2008–2012 net position under the Kyoto Protocol. 

New Zealand’s final net positon under the Kyoto Protocol

New Zealand met its target under the first commitment period (CP1, 2008–2012) of the Kyoto Protocol with a surplus of 123.7 million units.

How the Kyoto Protocol works

The Kyoto Protocol is an international legally binding agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (emissions) and provides a framework for international emissions trading. Parties to the Kyoto Protocol use Kyoto emission units to track their progress against emissions reduction commitments. Each Kyoto unit represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). At the start of a commitment period, a party issues Kyoto units equal to its target (Assigned Amount Units or AAUs). After the end of the commitment period, the party must retire Kyoto units equal to its gross emissions. If it does not have enough Kyoto units domestically it has to purchase eligible units internationally to make up the shortfall.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand committed to limit emissions to 1990 levels on average over CP1.  

In December 2015, New Zealand submitted its “True-up Report”  for CP1 of the Kyoto Protocol, showing that it had enough units to account for its gross emissions over 2008–2012, and therefore that it had met its CP1 target, with a surplus of 123.7 million units. This report has been reviewed by an international team of experts in February 2016 and the final review report confirmed that New Zealand has fully complied with its commitments for the first commitment period.

Following the Kyoto Protocol framework of rules, New Zealand will recognise its surplus units towards its unconditional 2020 emissions reduction target.

New Zealand’s emissions over the first commitment period 

New Zealand emitted 372.8 million tonnes of CO2-e (Mt CO2-e) over 2008 to 2012. These gross emissions were partially offset by 71.6 Mt CO¬2-e of net removals from forestry activities. Note that net removals by forests are represented as removal units (RMUs) in the Kyoto Protocol. 

The table below gives a breakdown of these emissions by sector.

Table 1: New Zealand’s annual emissions over the first commitment period of the   Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012)

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total

Energy

34.6

31.7

31.6

31.2

32.1

161.29

Industrial processes

4.1

4.2

4.5

5.3

5.3

23.41

Solvents

0.0

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.15

Waste

3.9

3.8

3.7

3.6

3.6

18.63

Agriculture

33.2

33.4

33.6

34.2

35.0

169.32

Forestry

           

Net Removals

-14.2

-12.3

-14.4

-15.5

-15.1

-71.6

Deforestation

3.2

5.6

4.1

3.4

4.0

20.2

Total

61.5

60.8

59.1

58.9

60.9

301.2

All units are in Mt CO2-e.  Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding to one decimal place.

New Zealand’s units over the first commitment period

New Zealand issued 309.6 million initial assigned amount units (AAUs) at the start of CP1, representing, in Kyoto units, the target to limit emissions to 1990 levels over 2008-2012 (i.e. five times New Zealand’s 1990 emissions of 61.9 Mt CO2-e).

The Government held 496.7 million Kyoto units in its account prior to the submission of the True-up Report (see table below). 372.8 million of these were retired at true up to account for emissions from 2008 – 2012. 

Participants of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) must surrender units to the Government to account for some or all of their emissions. These can be either New Zealand Units (which can only be used in the NZ ETS) or one of a variety of Kyoto units.  NZ ETS participants had surrendered 122.9 million Kyoto units to the Government through the NZ ETS at the time the True-up Report was submitted (see table below).

Difference between gross emissions and Kyoto units over the first commitment period

The table and graph below compare New Zealand’s gross emissions and Kyoto units over the first commitment period. It shows that New Zealand completed CP1 with a surplus of 123.7 million units.

Table 2: New Zealand’s gross emissions and Kyoto units over the first commitment period.

  2008 - 2012 

New Zealand’s emissions

Mt CO2e

Gross emissions

+372.8 
   

Kyoto units

Millions of units

Initial Assigned Amount Units (AAUs)  +309.6 

Purchases by the Government

+0.1 
Transfers to Projects to Reduce Emissions  -4.9 
Transfers to Permanent Forest Sink Initiative  -1.4 
New Zealand Units converted to AAUs by foresters -1.2 
Domestic forestry net removals (RMUs)  +71.6
Kyoto units surrendered via NZ ETS  +122.9
Kyoto unit balance  +496.7 
   
New Zealand’s net position  +123.7 

Note: Numbers are rounded to one decimal place.

Graphic representation of the net position

Notes: Gross emissions over 2008-2012 (left) and the balance of Kyoto units to account for these (right). Numbers are rounded to one decimal place.

Reviewed:
02/04/15