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1 New Zealand’s emissions profile 1990–2006

In 1990, New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions (excluding the land use, land-use change and forestry sector) amounted to 61.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent. In 2006, total greenhouse gas emissions amounted to 77.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent. This equates to a 15.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (26 per cent) rise in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 from the five sectors listed in Annex A to the Kyoto Protocol (see Box 1 on page 6). Annex A to the Kyoto Protocol does not include emissions or removals from the land use, land-use change and forestry sector, and internationally accepted practice in reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to report total emissions excluding this sector. The annual changes in New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: New Zealand’s total emissions 1990–2006

 

Source: Ministry for the Environment (2008a)

Actual estimated emissions reported in New Zealand's greenhouse gas inventory submitted 14 April 2008

Year

Estimated emissions

1990

61.947

1991

62.435

1992

63.591

1993

62.986

1994

64.182

1995

64.461

1996

66.018

1997

68.792

1998

66.916

1999

68.783

2000

70.713

2001

73.081

2002

73.437

2003

75.987

2004

74.947

2005

77.364

2006

77.778

New Zealand is unique among developed nations in that 48 per cent of total emissions are produced by the agriculture sector (Figure 2). New Zealand’s agricultural emissions are methane from ruminant farm animals, and nitrous oxide from animal excreta and nitrogenous fertiliser use. Since 1990, emissions from agriculture have increased by 5.2 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (16 per cent). Changes to emissions from the agriculture sector are primarily due to increased emissions from dairying and application nitrogen fertiliser, and reduced emissions from sheep grazing.

  • Emissions from dairy grazing (both methane and nitrous oxide) have increased 5.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (71 per cent) between 1990 and 2006 due to increases in the number of dairy cows and improved productivity. Emissions from the application of nitrogenous fertiliser have increased over the same period by 1.5 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (456 per cent).

  • Emissions from sheep grazing have declined by 2.8 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent between 1990 and 2006 due to a reduction in sheep numbers.

The energy sector (including transport) is the other large component of New Zealand’s emissions profile, comprising 44 per cent of total emissions in 2006. Emissions from the energy sector are now 10.6 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (45 per cent) above the 1990 level (Table 1). Changes to emissions from the energy sector are primarily due to increased emissions from road transport and fossil fuel combustion from thermal electricity generation.

  • Total emissions from the transport subsector increased by 5.6 million tonnes carbon dioxide (64 per cent) between 1990 and 2006. Emissions from road transport alone have increased by 5.2 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (67 per cent) between 1990 and 2006.

  • Emissions from electricity generation have increased by 4.8 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (138 per cent) between 1990 and 2006.

Emissions from the industrial processes and the waste sector are a small component of New Zealand’s emissions profile, comprising 5 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively, of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2006. Emissions from industrial processes are now 0.8 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (24 per cent) higher than in 1990. Emissions from the waste sector are now 0.6 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (26 per cent) below the 1990 baseline. The majority of the reduction of emissions in the waste sector has resulted from improvements in management of solid waste disposal.

Figure 2: New Zealand’s sectoral emissions in 2006

Agriculture

Energy

Industrial processes

Waste

37.7

34.1

4.2

1.9

48%

44%

5%

2%

Table 1: Annual sectoral emissions of greenhouse gases in 1990 and 2006

Sector 1990 (Mt CO2-e) 2006 (Mt CO2-e) Change from 1990 (%) Change from 1990 (%)

Energy

23.5

34.1

10.6

45.0

Transport

8.8

14.4

5.6

64.1

Road transport

7.7

13.0

5.2

67.2

Domestic air transport

0.8

1.1

0.3

44.2

Domestic sea transport

0.3

0.3

0.1

31.1

Stationary energy

14.7

19.7

4.9

33.6

Electricity

3.5

8.3

4.8

137.6

Residential

0.6

0.6

0.0

6.1

Industrial and commercial

10.6

10.8

0.2

1.5

Industrial Processes

3.4

4.2

0.8

24.4

Solvents

0.0

0.0

0.0

–3.0

Agriculture

32.5

37.7

5.2

15.9

Beef cattle

7.0

7.7

0.7

10.7

Dairy

7.6

13.0

5.4

71.0

Deer

0.6

1.1

0.5

92.3

Sheep

16.3

13.4

–2.8

–17.4

Nitrogen fertiliser

0.3

1.9

1.5

456.3

Other agriculture

0.8

0.6

–0.2

–25.9

Waste

2.5

1.9

–0.6

–25.9

Solid waste disposal

2.1

1.4

–0.7

–31.8

Wastewater

0.4

0.3

0.0

–8.6

Incineration

0.0

0.0

0.0

–64.6

TOTAL

61.9

77.9

15.9

25.7

Sources: Ministry for the Environment (2008a), Ministry of Economic Development (2008)

Note: One emissions unit is equivalent to one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions converted to carbon dioxide equivalents by their global warming potential (IPCC 1995).