View all publications

Environment New Zealand 2007: Atmosphere

Did you know?

  • The atmosphere surrounding the earth is a vital part of our world. It recycles energy, water, and other necessities of life.
  • New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are increasing, reflecting our growing population and economy.
  • Although we produce less than 1 per cent of global emissions, we are the 12th highest emitter in the world per head of population.
  • Emissions from agriculture contribute nearly half of our total emissions. Emissions from energy generation and transport contribute most of the rest.
  • Since 1990, emissions removed from the atmosphere by forest growth have increased by 12 per cent.
  • Levels of ozone have stabilised since the late 1990s, resulting in an improvement in UV-levels.

For more information about the atmosphere see Environment New Zealand 2007 at

What can you do?

  • Lose the heavy stuff – each 50 kg of extra weight in your car increases fuel consumption by around 2 per cent. Remove your roof rack when you don't need it and save even more fuel.
  • When buying appliances, look for the energy rating label and the ENEGY STAR mark to help save you money and power – the more stars on the energy rating label, the better the energy efficiency.
  • Switch off appliances at the wall – the average household could save around 10 per cent on its power bill if appliances on standby were switched off.
  • Planting trees removes carbon from the atmosphere, filters air, and prevents soil erosion.
  • Compost your kitchen or garden waste – composting serves as a kind of carbon sink, storing carbon in the soil instead of in the atmosphere.