New Zealand’s projected greenhouse gas emissions

The latest projections of our greenhouse gas emissions. How we are tracking as we head towards our 2050 target.

New Zealand’s historical and projected greenhouse gas emissions

In the graph below 

  • Gross emissions are the total emissions from the agriculture, energy, industrial processes and product use, and waste sectors (as reported in the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory).
  • Net emissions are all gross emissions and the emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (as also reported in the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory).

Graph showing New Zealand's gross and net emissions to 2050

Gross emissions have increased from 65.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e) in 1990 to 80.9 Mt CO2-e) in 2017. They are projected to remain steady in the short term before decreasing to 65.3 Mt CO2-e in 2050

Net emissions have increased from 34.5 Mt CO2-e in 1990 to 56.9 Mt CO2-e in 2017. They are projected to continue to increase to 70.9 Mt CO2-e in 2025 before decreasing to 32.9 Mt CO2-e in 2050.

See the data file for more information.

Data file [Excel, 71 KB]

Notes on the graph

  • These emissions projections were published in December 2019 and were prepared for the Fourth Biennial Report. Historical emissions are from New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990–2017.
  • For a summary of methodologies, key variables and assumptions used in the projections analysis please see Chapter IV of the Fourth Biennial Report.

How New Zealand is tracking as we head towards our targets out to 2050

In the graph below 

  • The gap between the green line and the targets show how much we need to reduce emissions by to achieve our targets (the level of ambition).
  • Gross emissions are the total emissions from the agriculture, energy, industrial processes and product use, and waste sectors (as reported in the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory).
  • Target accounting emissions are all gross emissions and a subset of the emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry. For more information see Measuring, reporting and accounting for our emissions.

How New Zealand is tracking as we head towards our targets out to 2050

New Zealand’s carbon budgets step down across our three international target commitment periods (Kyoto Protocol 2008–2012, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2013–2020 and Paris Nationally Determined Contribution 2021–2030). 

New Zealand’s domestic emissions reduction targets for 2050 are; net zero all greenhouse gas emissions except biogenic methane and a 24–47 per cent reduction in biogenic methane as set out in the Zero Carbon Act.

Gross emissions have increased from 65.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2-e) in 1990 to 80.9 Mt CO2-e in 2017. They are projected to remain steady in the short term before decreasing to 65.3 Mt CO2-e in 2050.

Target accounting emissions range between 63 and 73 Mt CO2-e across 2008–2020. A change in forestry accounting rules (see note below) means that 2021 target accounting emissions are anticipated to initially be 74 Mt CO2-e before decreasing to 65 Mt CO2-e in 2030. If this rule-set is continued beyond 2030 target accounting emissions are projected to continue to decrease to 47 Mt CO2-e in 2050.

See the data file for more information.
 

Data file [Excel, 28 KB]

Notes on the graph

  • The rules to account for emissions and removals from forestry and land-use activities differ between the 2008–2012, 2013–2020 and 2021–2030 target periods. As such there is a break in the line for ‘Target accounting emissions’ including between 2020 and 2021 when New Zealand adopts the accounting set out in our first Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. 
  • Target accounting emissions include gross emissions minus the subset of forestry and land use emissions and removals that are counted towards our target, but does not include international unit purchases.
  • The rules on how New Zealand will account for emissions and removals from forestry and land-use activities post 2030 are yet to be confirmed. For presentation purposes we show the result when continuing the same rules as for 2021–2030.
  • The calculation of New Zealand’s 2021–2030 carbon budget is based on the latest available emissions data and projections which are subject to change. The details of the final methodology for forestry and land use are also still being confirmed. New Zealand will update how the target is reflected as better data and projections become available.
  • Historical emissions are from New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2017. These will differ from data submitted in December 2015 for New Zealand’s 'True-up report' for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) due to more up to date information. Find out more on New Zealand meets its target under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol web page. 
  • Target accounting emissions for Kyoto Protocol Commitment Period 1 (2008–2012) have been recalculated using Assessment Report Four (AR4) global warming potentials for consistency of presentation.
Reviewed:
31/01/20