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Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Background

Greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap warmth from the sun and make life as we know it possible. However, since the industrial revolution (about 1750) there has been a global increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) (IPCC, 2007). This increase is attributed to human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels and land-use change.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that most of the increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations (IPCC, 2007). The IPCC has projected that continued greenhouse gas emissions at, or above, current rates will cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century.

1.1.1 The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The science of climate change is assessed by the IPCC. In 1990, the IPCC concluded that human-induced climate change was a threat to our future. In response, the United Nations General Assembly convened a series of meetings that culminated in the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Climate Change Convention) at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992.

The Climate Change Convention took effect on 21 March 1994 and has been signed and ratified by 188 nations, including New Zealand.

The main objective of the Climate Change Convention is to achieve “stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (caused by humans) interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a timeframe sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner” (United Nations, 1992).

All countries that ratify the Climate Change Convention (henceforth called ‘Parties’) are required to address climate change. A part of the obligation is to monitor the trends in human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. The annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and removals fulfils this obligation. Parties are also obligated to protect and enhance carbon sinks (for example, forests), and implement measures that assist in national and/or regional climate change adaptation and mitigation. In addition, Parties listed as Annex II to the Climate Change Convention1 (developed countries) commit to providing financial assistance to non-Annex I Parties.

Annex I Parties that ratified the Climate Change Convention also agreed to non-binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2000.

Only a few Annex I Parties made appreciable progress towards achieving their targets. The international community recognised that the Climate Change Convention alone was not enough to ensure greenhouse gas levels would be stabilised at a safe level. More urgent action was needed. In response, Parties launched a new round of talks to provide stronger and more detailed commitments for Annex I Parties. After two and a half years of negotiations, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997. New Zealand ratified the Kyoto Protocol on 19 December 2002. The Protocol came into force on 16 February 2005.

1.1.2 The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol shares and strengthens the Climate Change Convention’s objective, principles and institutions. Only Parties to the Climate Change Convention that have also become Parties to the Protocol (by ratifying, accepting, approving, or acceding to it) are bound by the Protocol’s commitments. The goal is to reduce the aggregate emissions of the six greenhouse gases from Annex I Parties by at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels in the first commitment period (2008–2012). New Zealand’s target is to ensure that average emissions over the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol are less than or equal to emissions in 1990.

Article 3 of the Kyoto Protocol states that Annex I Parties ratifying the Protocol shall individually or jointly ensure that their aggregate, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions do not exceed their “assigned amount”. The assigned amount is the maximum amount of greenhouse gas emissions (measured as tonnes of CO2 equivalent) that a Party may emit over the commitment period. For the first commitment period, New Zealand’s assigned amount is the gross greenhouse gas emissions emitted in 1990 multiplied by five. The assigned amount does not include emissions and removals from the land use, land-use change and forestry sector (LULUCF) unless this sector was a source of emissions in 1990.

New Zealand’s assigned amount is recorded as 309,564,733 metric tonnes CO2 equivalent. The assigned amount is based on the 1990 inventory submitted as part of the Initial Report under the Kyoto Protocol (Ministry for the Environment, 2006). This report was reviewed by an international review team in February 2007 (UNFCCC, 2007). The assigned amount does not change during the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In contrast, the time series of emissions and removals reported in each inventory submission are subject to change due to continuous improvement. Consequently, the level of emissions in 1990 reported in this submission is different (0.8 per cent) from the 1990 level used in the assigned amount calculation.

To meet their commitments, Annex I Parties must put in place domestic policies and measures to reduce emissions. Reducing global greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere can be achieved by reducing the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted or by removing CO2 presently in the atmosphere by maintaining and increasing carbon sinks (for example, planting forests). Carbon sinks that meet Kyoto Protocol requirements create removal units. The removal units are added to a Party’s assigned amount at the end of the first commitment period.

The Kyoto Protocol also defined three “flexibility mechanisms” to lower the overall costs of achieving its commitments. These are Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and emissions trading. These mechanisms enable Parties to access cost-effective opportunities to reduce emissions or to remove carbon from the atmosphere through action in other countries. More information on these mechanisms can be obtained from the website of the Climate Change Convention (www.unfccc.int).

Under Article 7.1 of the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand is required to include supplementary information with the submission of the annual greenhouse gas inventory. This becomes mandatory for the 1990–2008 inventory to be submitted in 2010, as this includes the first reporting year of the first commitment period. However, in order to fully participate in Kyoto mechanisms, a Party must submit a greenhouse gas inventory (required under the Climate Change Convention in 2007) that is complete with the appropriate supplementary information, and continue to do so until reporting is completed for all years of the commitment period.

The supplementary information required includes:

  • significant changes to a Party’s national system / registry

  • holdings and transactions of transferred / acquired units under Kyoto mechanisms

  • information relating to the implementation of Article 3.14 on the minimisation of adverse impacts.

Annex 8 to this submission contains New Zealand’s supplementary information under the Kyoto Protocol.

1.1.3 A national greenhouse gas inventory

New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory is the official annual report of all human-caused emissions and removals of greenhouse gases in New Zealand. The inventory measures New Zealand’s progress against New Zealand’s obligations under the Climate Change Convention (Articles 4 and 12) and under the Kyoto Protocol (Article 7). The inventory is the primary tool for measuring New Zealand’s progress against these obligations.

The content and format of the inventory is prescribed by the IPCC (IPCC, 1996; 2000; 2003) and relevant decisions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Climate Change Convention. The most recent decisions are FCCC/SBSTA/2006/9 (UNFCCC, 2006). A complete inventory submission requires two components: the national inventory report and the common reporting format tables. Inventories are subject to an annual three-stage international expert review process administered by the Climate Change Convention secretariat. The reports from these reviews are available online (www.unfccc.int).

The inventory reports emissions and removals of the gases CO2, CH4, N2O, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The gases are reported under six sectors: energy, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, agriculture, land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), and waste. The indirect greenhouse gases – carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) – are also included in the inventory. Only emissions and removals of the direct greenhouse gases – CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs and SF6 – are reported in New Zealand’s total emissions under the Climate Change Convention and are accounted for under the Kyoto Protocol.

New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions profile

In 1990, New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions were equal to 61,852.8 Gg CO2-e. In 2007, total greenhouse gas emissions were 75,550.2 Gg CO2-e, equating to a 13,697.4 Gg CO2-e (22.1 per cent) rise since 1990. Net removals of CO2 through forest sinks increased 31.4 per cent from 18,138.5 Gg CO2-e in 1990 to 23,836.0 Gg CO2-e in 2007.

Agricultural emissions contributed 48.2 per cent of New Zealand’s total emissions in 2007. The large proportion of agricultural emissions creates a unique greenhouse gas emission profile for New Zealand. In other developed countries the majority of emissions come from electricity production, transport and industrial processes.

In 2007, emissions from the energy sector accounted for 43.2 per cent of New Zealand’s total emissions. The energy sector experienced the highest rate of growth in emissions of any sector, increasing 39.2 per cent from 1990 to 2007. This growth is due to increasing demands for energy from transport, electricity generation, manufacturing industries and construction.

Renewable energy sources dominate New Zealand's electricity generation. Hydro generation, geothermal, woody biomass, wind, solar, biogas and landfill gas contributed 67 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity generation in 2007 (Ministry of Economic Development, 2008b). The proportion of renewable energy used to produce electricity varies year to year depending on the availability of water for generating hydro electricity (refer to section 3.2.1).

Between 1990 and 2007, New Zealand’s predominant greenhouse gases changed. Whereas CH4 and CO2 contributed equally to New Zealand’s emissions in 1990, CO2 was the major greenhouse gas in New Zealand’s emissions profile in 2007 (Table 1.1). Growing emissions of CO2 reflects the larger growth in emissions from the energy sector compared to the agriculture sector.

1.2 Institutional arrangements

The Climate Change Response Act (2002 – updated 26 September 2008) enables New Zealand to meet its international obligations under the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. Prime ministerial directive for the administration of the Climate Change Response Act names the Ministry for the Environment as New Zealand’s “Inventory Agency”. The Climate Change Response Act specifies the primary functions of the inventory agency, are to:

  • estimate annually New Zealand's human-induced emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases

  • prepare the following reports for the purpose of discharging New Zealand's obligations:

    • New Zealand's annual inventory report under Article 7.1 of the Protocol, including (but not limited to) the quantities of long-term certified emission reduction units and temporary certified emission reduction units that have expired or have been replaced, retired, or cancelled
    • New Zealand's national communication (or periodic report) under Article 7.2 of the Protocol and Article 12 of the Convention
    • New Zealand's report for the calculation of its initial assigned amount under Article 7.4 of the Protocol, including its method of calculation.

In carrying out its functions, the inventory agency must:

  • identify source categories

  • collect data by means of:

    • voluntary collection
    • collection from government agencies and other agencies that hold relevant information
    • collection in accordance with regulations made under this Part (if any)
    • estimate the emissions and removals by sinks for each source category
    • undertake assessments on uncertainties
    • undertake procedures to verify the data
    • retain information and documents to show how the estimates were determined.

Section 36, of the Climate Change Response Act provides for the authorisation of inspectors to collect information needed to estimate emissions or removals of greenhouse gases.

Inventory team

The Ministry for the Environment is New Zealand’s single national entity for the greenhouse gas inventory, responsible for the overall development, compilation and submission of the inventory to the Climate Change Secretariat. The Ministry coordinates all of the Government agencies and contractors involved in the inventory. The national inventory compiler is based at the Ministry. Arrangements with other government agencies have evolved over time as resources and capacity have allowed and as a greater understanding of the reporting requirements has been attained.

The Ministry for the Environment calculates estimates of emissions for the waste sectors and emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector.

The Ministry of Economic Development collects and compiles all emissions from the energy sector and CO2 emissions from the industrial processes sector. Emissions of the non-CO2 gases from the industrial processes sector are obtained through industry surveys by consultants, contracted to the Ministry for the Environment.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry provides some of the statistics for the agriculture sector and much of the data for removals from planted forestry in the LULUCF sector. In this submission, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry compiled the agriculture sector and provided increased input in compiling the LULUCF sector. Estimates provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, are underpinned by the research and modelling of researchers at New Zealand’s crown research institutes and universities.

New Zealand’s national statistical agency, Statistics New Zealand, provides many of the official statistics for the agriculture sector through regular agricultural census and surveys. Statistics New Zealand also provides statistics on fuel consumption through the Deliveries of Petroleum Fuels by Industry Survey and the New Zealand Coal Sales Survey. Population census data from Statistics New Zealand is used in the waste and solvent and other product use sectors.

1.3 Inventory preparation processes

Consistent with the Climate Change Convention reporting guidelines, each inventory report is 15 months in arrears of the calendar year reported, allowing time for data to be collected and analysed. Sector-based data analysis, data entry into the Climate Change Convention common reporting format database, and quality checking occurs over the period October–December. The national inventory report is also updated over this three-month time period.

Once the sector-based emissions estimates are updated, the national inventory compiler at the Ministry for the Environment calculates the inventory uncertainty, undertakes the key category assessment and further quality checking, and finalises the national inventory report. The inventory is reviewed within the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry before being approved and submitted to the Climate Change Convention secretariat.

The inventory and all required data for the submission to the Climate Change Convention secretariat are stored on the Ministry for the Environment’s central computer network in a controlled file system. The inventory is available from the websites of the Ministry for the Environment and the Climate Change Convention.

New Zealand is required to have a national system in place for its greenhouse gas inventory under Article 5.1 of the Kyoto Protocol. New Zealand provided a full description of the national system in the initial report for the Kyoto Protocol (Ministry for the Environment, 2006).

1.4 Methodologies and data sources used

The guiding documents in inventory preparation are the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC, 1996), the Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC, 2000), Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (IPCC, 2003) and the Climate Change Convention guidelines on reporting and review (UNFCCC, 2006). The concepts contained in Good Practice Guidance are implemented in stages, according to sector priorities and national circumstances.

Energy: Greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector are calculated using the IPCC Tier 1 approach. Activity data is compiled from industry-supplied information via the Ministry of Economic Development and Statistics New Zealand (refer to Chapter 3 and Annex 2). New Zealand-specific emission factors are used for CO2 emission calculations. Applicable IPCC default factors are used for non-CO2 emissions where New Zealand emission factors are not available.

Industrial processes and solvent and other product use: Activity data and CO2 emissions are supplied directly to the Ministry of Economic Development by industry sources. The IPCC Tier 2 approach is used and emission factors are New Zealand specific. Activity data for the non-CO2 gases are collected via an industry survey. Emissions of HFCs and PFCs are estimated using the IPCC Tier 2 approach and SF6 emissions from large users are assessed via the Tier 3a approach (IPCC, 2006).

Agriculture: Livestock population data is obtained from Statistics New Zealand through the agricultural production census and surveys. A Tier 2 (model) approach is used to estimate CH4 emissions from dairy cattle, non-dairy cattle, sheep and deer. This methodology uses New Zealand animal productivity data to estimate dry-matter intake and CH4 production. The same dry-matter intake data is used to calculate N2O emissions from animal excreta. A Tier 1 approach is used to calculate CH4 and N2O emissions from livestock species present in insignificant numbers.

Land use, land-use change and forestry: The LULUCF sector is completed using a mix of IPCC Tier 2 and Tier 1 approaches. A Tier 2 approach is used for the planted forest subcategory of forest land. Changes in planted forest stocks are assessed from national forest survey data and computer modelling of the planted forest estate. A Tier 1 approach is used for the cropland, grassland, wetland, settlements and other land categories. Changes in land area for these categories are based on modified national land-cover databases reclassified to the IPCC LULUCF categories. At the time of compiling this submission, this was the best data available for reporting the LULUCF sector within New Zealand. Results from the Land Use and Carbon Analysis System (LUCAS), as described in Annex 3.2, will improve the reporting for the LULUCF sector, and will further provide consistency with reporting under the Kyoto Protocol.

Waste: Emissions from the waste sector are estimated using waste survey data combined with population data from Statistics New Zealand. Calculation of emissions from solid waste disposal uses the model from the IPCC 2006 guidelines. A mix of New Zealand-specific and IPCC default parameters are used. Methane and N2O emissions from domestic and industrial wastewater handling are calculated using a refinement of the IPCC methodology (IPCC, 1996). There is no incineration of municipal waste in New Zealand. Emissions from incineration from medical, quarantine and hazardous wastes are estimated using the Tier 1 approach (IPCC, 2006).

1.5 Key categories

The IPCC Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC, 2000) identifies a key category as, “one that is prioritised within the national inventory system because its estimate has a significant influence on a country’s total inventory of direct greenhouse gases in terms of the absolute level of emissions, the trend in emissions, or both”. Key categories identified within the inventory are used to prioritise inventory improvements.

The key categories in the New Zealand inventory have been assessed using the Tier 1 level and trend methodologies from the IPCC good practice guidance (IPCC, 2000 and 2003). The methodologies identify sources of emissions and removals that sum to 95 per cent of the total level of emissions, and 95 per cent of the trend of the inventory in absolute terms.

In accordance with Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (IPCC, 2003), the key category analysis is performed once for the inventory excluding LULUCF categories, and then repeated for the inventory including the LULUCF categories. Non-LULUCF categories that are identified as key in the first analysis but that do not appear as key when the LULUCF categories are included, are still considered as key categories.

The key categories identified in the 2007 year are summarised in Table 1.5.1. The major contributions to the level analysis including LULUCF (Table 1.5.2) were CH4 from enteric fermentation in domestic livestock (23.0 per cent), CO2 from conversion to forest land (15.0 per cent) and CO2 from road transportation (13.1 per cent).

The key categories that were identified as having the largest relative influence on New Zealand’s emissions trend in 2007, including LULUCF, (Table 1.5.3), were CO2 emissions from road transportation (20.5 per cent), CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation in domestic livestock (18.7 per cent), and CO2 emissions from forest land remaining forest land (12.2 per cent).

Table 1.5.1 Summary of key categories for 2007 (including and excluding LULUCF activities)

Quantitative method used: Tier 1
IPCC Source Categories Gas Criteria for Identification
Energy sector
CO2 emissions from stationary combustion – solid CO2 level, trend
CO2 emissions from stationary combustion - liquid CO2 level, trend
CO2 emissions from stationary combustion - gas CO2 level, trend
Mobile combustion - road vehicles CO2 level, trend
Mobile combustion - aviation CO2 level
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 level, trend
Fugitive emissions from geothermal operations CO2 trend
Industrial processes sector
Emissions from cement production CO2 level, trend
Emissions from the iron and steel industry CO2 level
PFCs from aluminium production PFCs trend
Ammonia production CO2 qualitative
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 - refrigeration & air conditioning HFCs & PFCs level, trend
Agricultural sector 
Emissions from enteric fermentation in domestic livestock CH4 level, trend
Emissions from manure management CH4 level
Direct emissions from agricultural soils N2O level, trend
Emissions from agricultural soils - animal production N2O level, trend
Indirect emissions from nitrogen used in agriculture  N2O level
LULUCF sector
Forest land remaining forest land CO2 trend
Conversion to forest land CO2 level, trend
Conversion to grassland CO2 trend
Cropland remaining cropland CO2 level
Conversion to cropland CO2 trend
Waste sector
Emissions from solid waste disposal sites CH4 level, trend

Table 1.5.2 (a & b) Key category analysis for 2007 – Tier 1 level assessment including LULUCF (a) and excluding LULUCF (b)

(a) Tier 1 Category Level Assessment - including LULUCF
IPCC Categories Gas 2007 estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
Level assessment Cumulative total
Emissions from enteric fermentation in domestic livestock CH4 23326.38 23.0 23.0
Conversion to forest land CO2 15253.73 15.0 38.0
Mobile combustion – road vehicles CO2 13281.35 13.1 51.1
Forest land remaining forest land CO2 9311.50 9.2 60.3
Emissions from stationary combustion – gas CO2 8723.65 8.6 68.9
Emissions from agricultural soils – animal production N2O 7346.67 7.2 76.1
Emissions from stationary combustion – solid CO2 4473.87 4.4 80.5
Indirect emissions from nitrogen used in agriculture  N2O 3270.66 3.2 83.8
Emissions from stationary combustion – liquid CO2 2644.94 2.6 86.4
Direct emissions from agricultural soils N2O 1680.74 1.7 88.0
Emissions from the iron and steel industry CO2 1646.24 1.6 89.7
Emissions from solid waste disposal sites CH4 1437.95 1.4 91.1
Mobile combustion – aviation CO2 915.10 0.9 92.0
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6sub> – refrigeration and air conditioning HFCs & PFCs 779.64 0.8 92.7
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 754.57 0.7 93.5
Emissions from manure management CH4 729.10 0.7 94.2
Emissions from cement production CO2 687.90 0.7 94.9
Cropland remaining cropland CO2 649.67 0.6 95.5
(b) Tier 1 Category Level Assessment - excluding LULUCF
IPCC Categories Gas 2007 estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
Level assessment Cumulative total
Emissions from enteric fermentation in domestic livestock CH4 23326.38 30.9 30.9
Mobile combustion – road vehicles CO2 13281.35 17.6 48.5
Emissions from stationary combustion – gas CO2 8723.65 11.6 60.1
Emissions from agricultural soils - animal production N2O 7346.67 9.7 69.8
Emissions from stationary combustion – solid CO2 4473.87 5.9 75.7
Indirect emissions from nitrogen used in agriculture  N2O 3270.66 4.3 80.1
Emissions from stationary combustion – liquid CO2 2644.94 3.5 83.6
Direct emissions from agricultural soils N2O 1680.74 2.2 85.8
Emissions from the iron and steel industry CO2 1646.24 2.2 88.0
Emissions from solid waste disposal sites CH4 1437.95 1.9 89.9
Mobile combustion – aviation CO2 915.10 1.2 91.1
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 – refrigeration and air conditioning HFCs & PFCs 779.64 1.0 92.1
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 754.57 1.0 93.1
Emissions from manure management CH4 729.10 1.0 94.1
Emissions from cement production CO2 687.90 0.9 95.0

Table 1.5.3 Key category analysis for 2007 – Tier 1 trend assessment including LULUCF (a) and excluding LULUCF (b)

(a) Tier 1 Category Trend Assessment - including LULUCF
IPCC Categories Gas Base year estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
2007 estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
Trend assessment Contribution to trend Cumulative total
Mobile combustion – road vehicles CO2 7516.28 13281.35 0.032 20.5 20.5
Emissions from enteric fermentation in domestic livestock CH4 21818.97 23326.38 0.029 18.7 39.1
Forest land remaining forest land CO2 5614.43 9311.50 0.019 12.2 51.3
Emissions from agricultural soils – animal production N2O 6853.06 7346.67 0.009 5.8 57.0
Emissions from solid waste disposal sites CH4 2063.21 1437.95 0.009 5.7 62.7
Direct emissions from agricultural soils N2O 487.19 1680.74 0.009 5.5 68.3
Conversion to forest land CO2 13059.41 15253.73 0.007 4.5 72.8
Emissions from stationary combustion - gas CO2 7691.22 8723.65 0.006 4.0 76.8
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 – refrigeration and air conditioning HFCs & PFCs 0.00 779.64 0.006 4.0 80.8
PFCs from aluminium production PFCs 642.22 40.27 0.006 3.9 84.7
Emissions from stationary combustion – solid CO2 3139.65 4473.87 0.005 3.0 87.7
Emissions from stationary combustion – liquid CO2 2505.28 2644.94 0.004 2.3 90.0
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 263.75 754.57 0.003 2.2 92.2
Fugitive emissions from geothermal operations CO2 376.16 301.47 0.001 0.8 93.1
Conversion to grassland CO2 482.70 436.83 0.001 0.8 93.9
Emissions from cement production CO2 441.67 687.90 0.001 0.7 94.6
Conversion to cropland CO2 37.35 128.68 0.001 0.4 95.0
(b) Tier 1 Category Trend Assessment - excluding LULUCF
IPCC Categories Gas Base year estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
2007 estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
Trend assessment Contribution to trend Cumulative total
Mobile combustion - road vehicles CO2 7516.28 13281.35 0.045 26.6 26.6
Emissions from enteric fermentation in domestic livestock CH4 21818.97 23326.38 0.036 21.3 48.0
Direct emissions from agricultural soils N2O 487.19 1680.74 0.012 7.0 55.0
Emissions from solid waste disposal sites CH4 2063.21 1437.95 0.012 7.0 62.0
Emissions from agricultural soils - animal production N2O 6853.06 7346.67 0.011 6.6 68.6
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 - refrigeration and air conditioning HFCs & PFCs 0.00 779.64 0.008 5.1 73.6
PFCs from aluminium production PFCs 642.22 40.27 0.008 4.8 78.5
Emissions from stationary combustion - gas CO2 7691.22 8723.65 0.007 4.3 82.7
Emissions from stationary combustion - solid CO2 3139.65 4473.87 0.007 4.2 86.9
Emissions from stationary combustion - liquid CO2 2505.28 2644.94 0.004 2.7 89.6
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 263.75 754.57 0.005 2.8 92.4
Fugitive emissions from geothermal operations CO2 376.16 301.47 0.002 1.0 93.4
Emissions from cement production CO2 441.67 687.90 0.002 1.0 94.4
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 - aerosols and metered dose inhalers HFCs & PFCs 0.00 75.57 0.001 0.5 94.8
Fugitive emissions from coal mining and handling CH4 272.13 261.83 0.001 0.5 95.3

1.6 Quality assurance and quality control

Quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) are an integral part of preparing New Zealand’s inventory. The Ministry for the Environment developed a QA/QC plan in 2004, as required by the Climate Change Convention reporting guidelines (UNFCCC, 2006), to formalise, document and archive the QA/QC procedures. The plan is annually updated in conjunction with New Zealand’s inventory improvement plan. As a result of recommendations from recent reviews, New Zealand has increased QA/QC activities for this submission. Details are discussed in sections 1.6.1 and 1.6.2 below.

1.6.1 Quality control

For this inventory submission, the Ministry for the Environment used IPCC Tier 1 QC check sheets. The Tier 1 checks are based on the procedures suggested in the good practice guidance (IPCC, 2000). All key categories for the 2007 inventory year were checked.

Recent reviews under the Climate Change Convention have recommended New Zealand intensify the time and resources directed at implementing the QA/QC plan, with the aim of reducing the number of minor errors and inconsistencies. New Zealand responded to the recommendation by changing the inventory compilation schedule to allow more time for quality checking.

For this inventory submission, all sector-level data was entered into the common reporting format database by January 2009. The earlier deadline allowed two months for further quality checking at the sector level (between data spreadsheets and the common reporting format tables) and checking consistency between the common reporting format tables and the national inventory report. Corrections were made to any errors.

An additional person was contracted into the inventory team at the Ministry for the Environment from December through to February to complete quality checks on key categories for the 2007 inventory year. Checks included ensuring the data from the spreadsheets and models was accurately transferred to the common reporting format database and data from the database was accurately represented in the draft national inventory report. No significant errors within the source data spreadsheets or between the spreadsheets and the common reporting format database and the draft national inventory report were identified.

Data in the common reporting format database was checked visually for anomalies, errors and omissions. The Ministry for the Environment used the QC checking procedures included in the database to ensure the data submitted to the Climate Change Convention secretariat was complete.

1.6.2 Quality assurance

New Zealand’s inventory system is progressively improving its quality control and assurance system to ensure quality is built in at all stages of the inventory compilation process. In 2008, KMPG, a contractor, developed a risk register to highlight potential risks in the inventory data compilation process. The Ministry for the Environment will continue to use the risk register to assist in prioritising further improvements to the inventory.

For this submission, improvements focussed on building the capacity of the national inventory system. This involved recruitment within the national inventory team and providing documentation for the national inventory compiler role. This has lowered the risk of losing specialised knowledge of New Zealand’s national inventory system.

Quality assurance reviews of individual sectors and categories were included in the national inventory plan and commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment. A list of previous quality assurance reviews, their major conclusions and follow up are included in the MS Excel worksheets available for download with this report from the Ministry for the Environment’s website (http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/).

Most of the energy and agriculture activity data is provided by Statistics New Zealand, who conducts its own rigorous quality assurance and quality control procedures on the data.

1.6.3 The Climate Change Convention annual inventory review

New Zealand’s inventory was reviewed in 2001 and 2002 as part of a pilot study of the technical review process (UNFCCC, 2001a; 2001b; 2001c; 2003). The inventory was subject to detailed in-country, centralised and desk review procedures. The inventories submitted for the years 2001 and 2003 were reviewed in a centralised review process. The 2004 inventory was reviewed as part of the Kyoto Protocol initial review. This was an in-country review held from 19–24 February 2007. The 2007 and 2008 inventory submissions were reviewed during a centralised review in September 2008. In all instances, the reviews were conducted by an international team of experts review team nominated by Parties to the Climate Change Convention. Review reports are available from the Climate Change Convention website (www.unfccc.int).

New Zealand has consistently met the reporting requirements under the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. The submission of the inventory to the Climate Change Convention secretariat has consistently met the required deadline under decision 15/CMP.1. The national system for the greenhouse gas inventory, the national registry, and the 1990 (base year) inventory were reviewed by an international expert review team in February 2007. The expert review report (UNFCCC, 2007) concluded that:

  • “New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory is consistent with the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines and the IPCC good practice guidance, and adheres to the reporting guidelines under Article 7 of the Kyoto Protocol.

  • New Zealand’s national system is prepared in accordance with the guidelines for national systems under Article 5, paragraph 1, of the Kyoto Protocol and reported in accordance with the guidelines for the preparation of the information required under Article 7 of the Kyoto Protocol.

  • New Zealand’s national registry is fully compliant with the registry requirements as defined by decisions 13/CMP.1 and 5/CMP.1”.

New Zealand’s consistency in meeting the reporting requirements allowed it to be one of the first four Parties to be eligible to participate in the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms. New Zealand’s registry, the official transactions and balance of New Zealand’s Kyoto units, was operational on 1 January 2008.

1.7 Inventory uncertainty

Uncertainty estimates are an essential element of a complete greenhouse gas emissions and removals inventory. The purpose of uncertainty information is not to dispute the validity of the inventory estimates, but to help prioritise efforts to improve the accuracy of inventories in the future and guide decisions on methodological choice (IPCC, 2000). Inventories prepared following IPCC good practice guidance (IPCC, 2000 and 2003) will typically contain a wide range of emission estimates, varying from carefully measured and demonstrably complete data on emissions to order-of-magnitude estimates of highly variable estimates such as N2O fluxes from soils and waterways.

In this submission, New Zealand included a Tier 1 uncertainty analysis as required by the Climate Change Convention inventory guidelines (UNFCCC, 2006) and IPCC good practice guidance (IPCC, 2000 and 2003). Uncertainties in the categories are combined to provide uncertainty estimates for the entire inventory for the latest inventory year and the uncertainty in the overall inventory trend over time. LULUCF categories have been included using the absolute value of any removals of CO2 (Table A7.1). Table A7.2 calculates the uncertainty in emissions only (ie, excluding LULUCF removals).

The calculated uncertainty for New Zealand’s total inventory (emissions and removals) in 2007 is ±16.7 per cent. The uncertainty in the overall trend from 1990 to 2007 is lower at ±4.5 per cent. The uncertainty in total emissions (excluding removals) is ±20.6 per cent, with ±5.5 per cent uncertainty in the trend of emissions.

The high uncertainty in a given year is dominated by emissions of CH4 from enteric fermentation (refer to section 6.2) and N2O emissions from agricultural soils (refer to section 6.5). These categories comprised 12.2 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively of New Zealand’s total emissions and removals uncertainty in 2007. The uncertainty in these categories reflected the inherent variability when estimating emissions from natural systems, eg, the uncertainty in cattle dry-matter intake and CH4 emissions per unit of dry-matter. With the agricultural sector comprising approximately half of New Zealand’s emissions, high uncertainty in a given year is inevitable. Removals of CO2 from forest land were also a major contribution to the uncertainty for 2007 at 6.2 per cent of New Zealand’s total emissions and removals. In comparison, the uncertainty in CO2 emissions from burning of fossil fuels was only 1.6 per cent of the total.

Uncertainty in the trend is dominated by CO2 emissions from the energy sector at 2.7 per cent of the trend. This is because the uncertainty in energy activity data is greater than the uncertainty in energy emission factors, and the energy sector is the second largest contributor to total emissions. The other major contributors to trend uncertainty are removals of CO2 by forest land with 2.2 per cent, and N2O from agricultural soils with 1.1 per cent.

In most instances, the uncertainty values are determined by expert judgement from sectoral or industry experts, by analysis of emission factors or activity data, or by referring to uncertainty ranges quoted in the IPCC documentation. A Monte Carlo simulation was used to determine uncertainty for CH4 from enteric fermentation and N2O from agricultural soils in the 2001/2002 inventory. As there have been no significant changes to the emission factors and or activity data, the 95 per cent confidence intervals developed from the Monte Carlo simulation were extended to the 2007 inventory.

1.8 Inventory completeness

The New Zealand inventory for the period 1990–2007 is complete. In accordance with good practice guidance (IPCC, 2000), New Zealand has focused its resources for inventory development on the key categories. Some categories considered to have negligible emissions are reported as “not estimated”. Where this has occurred, explanations have been provided in the national inventory report and in the common reporting format tables.

The LULUCF data is the best estimate possible given the presently available data. The Land Use and Carbon Analysis System (LUCAS) is being developed to improve the accuracy of this data. Estimates using this system will be included in the 2010 inventory submission. Development of the LUCAS will also reduce uncertainty by using New Zealand-specific emission and removal factors, and will use spatial data mapped specifically for the Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol reporting. Details of the LUCAS development are included in Annex 3.2.

1.9 General notes

Units

Standard metric prefixes used in this inventory are:

kilo (k) = 103 (thousand)

mega (M) = 106 (million)

giga (G) = 109

tera (T) = 1012

peta (P) = 1015

Emissions are generally expressed in gigagrams (Gg) in the inventory tables:

1 gigagram (Gg) = 1,000 tonnes = 1 kilotonne (kt)

1 megatonne (Mt) = 1,000,000 tonnes = 1,000 Gg

Gases

CO2 carbon dioxide

CH4 methane

N2O nitrous oxide

PFCs perfluorocarbons

HFCs hydrofluorocarbons

SF6 sulphur hexafluoride

CO carbon monoxide

NMVOC non-methane volatile organic compounds

NOx oxides of nitrogen

SO2 sulphur dioxide

Global warming potentials

The global warming potential is an index, representing the combined effect of the differing times greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere, and their relative effectiveness in absorbing thermal infrared radiation (IPCC, 2007).

The Climate Change Convention reporting requirements (UNFCCC, 2006) stipulate that the 100-year global warming potentials contained in the IPCC Second Assessment Report (IPCC, 1995) are used in national inventories. The indirect effects on global warming of a number of gases (CO, NOx, SO2 and NMVOCs) cannot currently be quantified, and, consequently, these gases do not have global warming potentials. In accordance with the Climate Change Convention reporting guidelines (UNFCCC, 2006), indirect greenhouse gases that do not have global warming potentials are reported in the inventory but are not included in the inventory emissions total.

Common Global Warming Potentials (100-year time period)

(refer to http://unfccc.int/ghg_data/items/3825.php )

CO2 = 1 HFC-32 = 650

CH4 = 21 HFC-125 = 2,800

N2O = 310 HFC-134a = 1,300

CF4 = 6,500 HFC-143a = 3,800

C2F6 = 9,200 HFC-227ea = 2,900

SF6 = 23,900

Conversion factors

From element basis to molecular mass From molecular mass to element basis

C → CO2: C × 44/12 (3.67) CO2 → C: CO2 × 12/44 (0.27)

C → CH4: C × 16/12 (1.33) CH4 → C: CO2 × 12/16 (0.75)

N → N2O: N × 44/28 (1.57) N2O → N: N2O × 28/44 (0.64)

Notation keys

In the common reporting format tables, the following standard notation keys are used:

NO Not occurring: when the activity or process does not occur in New Zealand.

NA Not applicable: when the activity occurs in New Zealand but the nature of the process does not result in emissions or removals.

NE Not estimated: where it is known that the activity occurs in New Zealand but there is no data or methodology available to derive an estimate of emissions. This can also apply to negligible emissions.

IE Included elsewhere: where emissions or removals are estimated but included elsewhere in the inventory. Table 9 of the common reporting format tables details the source category where these emissions or removals are reported.

C Confidential: where reporting of emissions or removals at a disaggregated level could lead to the disclosure of confidential information.

1  Annex II to the Climate Change Convention (a subset of Annex I) lists OECD member countries at the time Climate Change Convention was agreed.