View all publications

Executive Summary

The annual inventory of emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (the inventory) forms part of New Zealand’s obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Climate Change Convention) and the Kyoto Protocol. The inventory is also an important element of the Ministry for the Environment’s state of the environment reporting.

The inventory reports the emissions and removals of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol. The gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The indirect greenhouse gases carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) are also reported in the inventory. Under the Climate Change Convention, only emissions and removals of the direct greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs and SF6) are reported in the national greenhouse gas total. The gases are reported under six sectors: energy, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, agriculture, LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry) and waste.

Only human-induced emissions and removals of greenhouse gases are reported in the inventory. This submission in 2008 includes a complete time-series of emissions and removals from 1990 through to 2006 (the current inventory year). Each inventory report is 15 months in arrears allowing time for data to be collected and analysed.

Primarily, the inventory fulfils reporting obligations under the Climate Change Convention. As New Zealand enters the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, supplementary information, for example transactions of Kyoto units from the New Zealand registry, will be included in the national inventory report. There is no requirement to include additional Kyoto Protocol information in the 2008 inventory submission.

National trends in New Zealand’s emissions and removals

In 1990, New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions were equal to 61,947.9 Gg CO2 equivalent (CO2-e). In 2006, total greenhouse gas emissions were 77,868.1 Gg CO2-e equating to a 15,920.2 Gg CO2-e (25.7 per cent) rise since 1990 (Figure 1.1). Net removals of CO2 through forest sinks increased from 20,507.7 Gg CO2 in 1990 to 22,749.3 Gg CO2 in 2006.

Figure 1.1 New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2006 (all figures are Gg CO2-e)

 

 

Year

Gg CO2-equivalent

1990

61,947.9

1991

62,433.1

1992

63,591.0

1993

62,984.6

1994

64,179.8

1995

64,461.1

1996

66,016.0

1997

68,789.0

1998

66,915.9

1999

68,782.3

2000

70,711.7

2001

73,082.3

2002

73,435.2

2003

75,983.8

2004

74,941.5

2005

77,353.7

2006

77,868.1

The predominant greenhouse gases emitted by New Zealand have changed since 1990. Whereas CH4 and CO2 contributed equally to New Zealand’s emissions in 1990, CO2 is now the major greenhouse gas in New Zealand’s emissions profile (Table 1.1). Growing emissions of CO2 reflect the increased growth in emissions from the energy sector compared to the agriculture sector.

Table 1.1 Emissions of greenhouse gases in 1990 and 2006

Greenhouse gas emissions Gg CO2-equivalent Change from 1990 (Gg CO2-equivalent) Change from 1990 (%)
  1990 2006    

CO2 (excluding LULUCF)

25,382.2

36,388.0

11,005.7

43.3

CH4 (excluding LULUCF)

25,485.6

27,499.3

2,013.7

7.9

N2O (excluding LULUCF)

10,426.0

13,283.7

2,857.7

27.4

HFCs

0.0

593.0

593.0

PFCs

641.7

90.9

–550.8

–85.8

SF6

12.3

13.2

0.9

7.4

Total

61,947.9

77,868.1

15,920.2

25.7

Source and sink category emission estimates and trends

New Zealand’s emissions profile is unusual amongst developed nations because 48.4 per cent of total emissions in 2006 were produced by the agriculture sector (Figure 1.2). By comparison, emissions from agriculture are typically 12 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions across developed nations or Parties listed in Annex I of the Climate Change Convention. New Zealand’s agricultural emissions are predominantly CH4 emissions from ruminant farm animals and N2O emissions from animal excreta and nitrogenous fertiliser use. The current level of emissions from the agriculture sector is 5,168.8 Gg CO2-e (15.9 per cent) above the 1990 level of 32,498.9 Gg CO2-e (Table 1.2).

The energy sector is the other large component of New Zealand’s emissions profile comprising 34,069.3 Gg CO2-e (43.8 per cent) of total emissions in 2006. Emissions from the energy sector are now 10,570.2 Gg CO2-e (45.0 per cent) above the 1990 level of 23,499.1 Gg CO2-e (Table 1.2). The growth in energy emissions since 1990 is primarily from “road transport” (an increase of 5,127.3 Gg CO2-e or 66.9 per cent) and “public electricity and heat production” (an increase of 4,807.3 Gg CO2-e or 137.6 per cent). Emissions from thermal electricity generation vary from year to year depending on the water resources available for hydro generation. In dry years there is a greater reliance on thermal electricity generation.

Emissions from the industrial processes and waste sectors are a small component of New Zealand’s emissions profile, comprising 5.4 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2006. Emissions from the waste sector have decreased 647.8 Gg CO2-e (25.9 per cent) since 1990 because of improvements in solid waste disposal. Emissions from industrial processes have increased 830.4 Gg CO2-e (24.4 per cent) since 1990. Emissions from the solvent and other product use sector are negligible in New Zealand.

The land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector represents a major carbon sink for New Zealand removing 22,749.3 Gg CO2-e or 29.2 per cent of all of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2006. Net removals in 2006 were 2,241.6 Gg CO2-e (10.9 per cent) above net removals in 1990. Variations in planting rates and the impact of harvest regimes affect the size of this carbon sink from year to year. The LULUCF sector of the inventory is not the same as forest sinks or afforestation under the Kyoto Protocol. The inventory reports emissions and removals from all forests (planted and natural) for all years, whereas the Kyoto Protocol limits forest sinks to forests planted after the 31st of December, 1989.

Figure 1.2 Change in New Zealand’s sectoral emissions from 1990 to 2006 (all figures Gg CO2-e and exclude LULUCF)

 

Sector

1990
(Gg CO2-equivalent)

2006
(Gg CO2-equivalent)

Energy

23,499.1

34,069.3

Industrial processes

3,402.7

4,233.1

Solvents

41.5

40.3

Waste

2,505.7

1,857.8

Agriculture

32,498.9

37,667.6

Table 1.2 Sectoral emissions of greenhouse gases in 1990 and 2006

Sector

Gg CO2-equivalent

Change from 1990 (Gg CO2 -equivalent)

Change from 1990 (%)

1990

2006

Energy

23,499.1

34,069.3

10,570.2

45.0

Industrial processes

3,402.7

4,233.1

830.4

24.4

Solvent and other product

41.5

40.3

-1.2

-3.0

Agriculture

32,498.9

37,667.6

5,168.8

15.9

Waste

2,505.7

1,857.8

-647.8

-25.9

Total (excluding LULUCF)

61,947.9

77,868.1

15,920.2

25.7

Land-use change and forestry (including CH4 & N2O)

-20,507.7

-22,749.3

-2,241.6

10.9

Net Total (including LULUCF)

41,440.2

55,118.8

13,678.7

33.0