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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). 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 greenhouse gas concentrations (IPCC, 2007). This increase is attributed to anthropogenic (human activities), particularly the burning of fossil fuels and land-use change.

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 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. The Climate Change Convention requires Parties to monitor trends in anthropogenic 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 in Annex II to the Climate Change Convention 1 (developed countries) commit to providing financial assistance to non-Annex I Parties.

Annex I 2 Parties that ratified the Climate Change Convention also agreed to non-binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 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 objective of the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce the aggregate emissions of 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 that average annual emissions over the first commitment period are less than or equal to emissions in 1990.

A Party with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (as listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol) must hold sufficient assigned amount to cover the total emissions during the first commitment period. A Party’s assigned amount comprises assigned amount units, removal units from Article 3.3 or 3.4 activities under the Kyoto Protocol and any other units acquired under the flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. Flexibility mechanisms include the Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation and the trading of units between Annex I Parties. Further information on these mechanisms can be obtained from the website of the Climate Change Convention (www.unfccc.int). Parties incur a 130 per cent penalty during any future commitment period if, during the first commitment period, they do not hold enough assigned amount to cover their total emissions. The Kyoto Protocol compliance equation for the first commitment period is simplified in Figure 1.1.1.

Figure 1.1.1 The compliance equation under Article 3.1 of the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period (2008–2012)


Figure 1.1.1 The compliance equation under Article 3.1 of the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period (2008–2012)

A bar graph used to describe graphically the information provided in section 1.1.2 of this inventory submission.

Notes: Gross emissions include emissions from energy, agriculture, waste, industrial processes and solvent and other product use, but exclude emissions from deforestation. Deforestation emissions are netted from removals under Article 3.3. KP stands for Kyoto Protocol.

For the first commitment period, New Zealand’s initial assigned amount is the gross greenhouse gas emissions emitted in 1990 multiplied by five. These units are assigned amount units. The initial 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 net emissions in 1990. Carbon sinks that meet Kyoto Protocol requirements for afforestation and reforestation create removal units (popularly known as carbon credits) and these are added to a Party’s assigned amount. Removal units must be cancelled for any harvesting and deforestation emissions.

Reporting afforestation, reforestation and deforestation activities since 1990 (Article 3.3 activities under the Kyoto Protocol) is mandatory in the first commitment period. Afforestation, reforestation and deforestation activities are defined below. The definitions are consistent with decision 16/CMP.1 (UNFCCC, 2005).

  • Afforestation is the direct human-induced conversion of land that has not been forested for a period of at least 50 years to forested land through planting, seeding and/or the human-induced promotion of seed sources.
  • Reforestation is the direct human-induced conversion of non-forested land to forested land through planting, seeding and/or the human-induced promotion of natural seed sources, on land that was forested but that has been converted to non-forested land. For the first commitment period, reforestation activities will be limited to reforestation occurring on those lands that did not contain forest on 31 December 1989.
  • Deforestation is the direct human-induced conversion of forested land to non-forested land.

Reporting on forest management, cropland management, grazing land management and revegetation is voluntary for the first commitment period (Kyoto Protocol Article 3.4). New Zealand did not elect to report on any of the Article 3.4 activities during the first commitment period.

1.1.3 The inventory

New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory is the official annual report of all anthropogenic emissions and removals of greenhouse gases in New Zealand. The inventory measures progress against New Zealand’s obligations under the Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol.

The methodologies, content and format of the inventory are prescribed by the IPCC (IPCC, 1996; 2000; 2003) and reporting guidelines agreed by the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention. The most recent guidelines 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 carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The indirect greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), are also included. 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. The gases are reported under six sectors: energy, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, agriculture, LULUCF, and waste.

1.1.4 Supplementary information required

Under Article 7.1 of the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand is required to include supplementary information with the annual greenhouse gas inventory submission. The supplementary information is included in Part II of this submission.

The supplementary information required includes:

  • information on emissions and removals for each activity under Article 3.3 and for any elected activities under Article 3.4 (chapter 11)
  • holdings and transactions of units transferred and acquired under Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, for example, carbon trading (chapter 12)
  • significant changes to a Party’s national system for estimating emissions and removals (chapter 13) and to the Kyoto Protocol unit registry (chapter 14)
  • information relating to the implementation of Article 3.14 on the minimisation of adverse impacts on non-Annex I Parties (chapter 14).

1.2 Institutional arrangements

1.2.1 Legal and procedural arrangements

The Climate Change Response Act 2002 (updated 8 December 2009) enables New Zealand to meet its international obligations under the Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol. A prime ministerial directive for the administration of the Climate Change Response Act 2002 names the Ministry for the Environment as New Zealand’s ‘Inventory Agency’. The Climate Change Response Act 2002 specifies the primary functions of the inventory agency, are to:

  • estimate annually New Zealand’s anthropogenic 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 Kyoto Protocol and Article 12 of the Climate Change Convention
    • New Zealand’s report for the calculation of its initial assigned amount under Article 7.4 of the Kyoto 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 2002 provides for the authorisation of inspectors to collect information needed to estimate emissions or removals of greenhouse gases.

1.2.2 Inventory agency and the national system

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 Convention secretariat. The Ministry coordinates all of the government agencies and contractors involved in the inventory. The national inventory compiler is based at the Ministry for the Environment. Arrangements with other government agencies have evolved 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 solvent and other product use sector, waste sector, emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector and Article 3.3 activities under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Ministry of Economic Development collects and compiles all emissions from the energy sector and CO2 emissions from the industrial processes sector. The Ministry of Economic Development now also conducts the Delivery of Petroleum Fuels by Industry Survey, previously administrated by Statistics New Zealand. 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 compiles the agriculture sector. Estimates are underpinned by the research and modelling of researchers at New Zealand’s Crown research institutes and universities. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry provided data from the National Exotic Forest Description to estimate afforestation and reforestation during 2008 and where information on the timing of planting and harvesting was not available through the Ministry for the Environment’s Land Use and Carbon Analysis System (LUCAS).

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 Quarterly Statistical Return of Coal Production and Sales. Population census data from Statistics New Zealand is used in the waste, and solvent and other product use sectors.

The Climate Change Response Act 2002 (updated 8 December 2009) establishes the requirement for a registry and a registrar. The Ministry of Economic Development is designated as the agency responsible for the implementation and operation of New Zealand’s national registry under the Kyoto Protocol, the New Zealand Emission Unit Register. The registry is electronic and accessible via the internet (www.eur.govt.nz/eats/nz/). Information on the annual holdings and transactions of transferred and acquired units under the Kyoto Protocol are provided in the supplementary format tables accompanying this submission. Refer to chapter 12 for further information.

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. Over the period of October to January, sectoral data is calculated and entered into the Climate Change Convention common reporting format database, and sectoral peer review and quality checking occur.

The national inventory compiler at the Ministry for the Environment calculates the inventory uncertainty, undertakes the key category assessment, conducts further quality checking, and finalises the national inventory report. The inventory is reviewed internally at the Ministry for the Environment 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). This can be found on the Climate Change Convention’s website: http://unfccc.int/national_reports/initial_reports_under_the_kyoto_protocol/items/3765.php. Changes to the national system are documented in chapter 13 of this submission.

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 the good practice guidance are implemented in stages, according to sector priorities and national circumstances.

Energy (chapter 3): Emissions from the energy sector are calculated using the IPCC Tier 1 approach. Activity data is compiled from industry-supplied information by the Ministry of Economic Development and Statistics New Zealand. 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 (chapters 4 and 5): 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 is 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, 2006a).

Agriculture (chapter 6): 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 (chapters 7 and 11): New Zealand uses a combination of Tier 1 and Tier 2 methodologies for estimating emissions and removals for the LULUCF sector under the Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol. A Tier 2 approach has been used to estimate biomass carbon in natural forest, pre-1990 planted forest and post-1989 forest, and a Tier 1 approach for estimating biomass carbon in all other land-use categories. A Tier 2 modelling approach has also been used to estimate carbon in the mineral soil component of the soil organic matter pool, for all land-use categories except for other land, which uses a Tier 1 approach.

New Zealand has established a data collection and modelling programme for the LULUCF sector called the Land Use and Carbon Analysis System (LUCAS) (see www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/lucas). The LUCAS programme includes the use of field plot measurements for natural and planted forests and airborne scanning LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) for planted forests (Stephens et al, 2007, 2008); use of allometric equations and models to estimate carbon stock and carbon-stock change in natural and planted forests respectively (Beets et al, 2009; Kimberley and Beets, 2008); wall-to-wall land-use mapping for 1990 and 2008 using satellite and aircraft remotely sensed imagery; a New Zealand-specific soil carbon model to estimate changes in soil organic matter with changes in land use; and development of databases and applications to store and manipulate all data associated with LULUCF activities.

Waste (chapter 8): 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, 2006c).

1.5 Key categories

1.5.1 Reporting under the Climate Change Convention

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 the 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 2008 year are summarised in Table 1.5.1. The major contributions to the level analysis including LULUCF (Table 1.5.2(a)) were CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation (21.0 per cent), CO2 removals from conversion to forest land (16.1 per cent) and CO2 emissions from road transportation (11.8 per cent).

The key categories that were identified as having the largest relative influence on New Zealand’s emissions trend from 1990 to 2008, including LULUCF (Table 1.5.3), were CO2 emissions from forest land remaining forest land (42.2 per cent), CO2 removals from conversion to forest land (29.2 per cent) and CO2 emissions from road transportation (7.2 per cent).

Table 1.5.1 Summary of New Zealand’s key categories for 2008 (including and excluding LULUCF activities)

Quantitative method used: IPCC Tier 1    
IPCC categories Gas Criteria for identification
Energy    
Stationary combustion – solid CO2 level, trend
Stationary combustion – liquid CO2 level
Stationary combustion – gas CO2 level, trend
Transport – road transportation CO2 level, trend
Transport – civil aviation CO2 level
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 level, trend
Industrial processes    
Mineral products – cement production CO2 level
Metal production – iron and steel production CO2 level
Metal production – aluminium production PFCs trend
Chemical industry – ammonia production CO2 qualitative
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 – refrigeration & air conditioning HFCs & PFCs level, trend
Agriculture    
Enteric fermentation CH4 level, trend
Manure management CH4 level
Agricultural soils – direct emissions N2O level, trend
Agricultural soils –  pasture, range and paddock N2O level, trend
Agricultural soils –  indirect emissions N2O level
LULUCF    
Forest land remaining forest land CO2 level, trend
Conversion to forest land CO2 level, trend
Conversion to grassland CO2 level, trend
Waste    
Solid waste disposal on land CH4 level, trend

Table 1.5.2 (a & b) New Zealand’s key category analysis for 2008 – IPCC Tier 1 level assessment including LULUCF (a) and excluding LULUCF (b)

(a) IPCC Tier 1 category level assessment - including LULUCF (net emissions)      
IPCC categories Gas 2008 estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
Level assessment (%) Cumulative total (%)
Enteric fermentation CH4 22,657.5 21.0 21.0
Conversion to forest land CO2 17,327.7 16.1 37.1
Transport – road transportation CO2 12,670.2 11.8 48.8
Forest land remaining forest land CO2 12,441.1 11.5 60.4
Stationary combustion – gas CO2 8,033.0 7.5 67.8
Agricultural soils –  pasture, range and paddock N2O 7,125.9 6.6 74.5
Stationary combustion – solid CO2 6,148.4 5.7 80.2
Stationary combustion – liquid CO2 3,144.1 2.9 83.1
Conversion to grassland CO2 2,849.6 2.6 85.7
Agricultural soils –  indirect emissions N2O 2,468.8 2.3 88.0
Agricultural soils – direct emissions N2O 1,777.7 1.6 89.7
Metal production – iron and steel production CO2 1,539.2 1.4 91.1
Solid waste disposal on land CH4 1,278.4 1.2 92.3
Transport – civil aviation CO2 942.9 0.9 93.1
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 796.4 0.7 93.9
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 – refrigeration and air conditioning HFCs & PFCs 727.7 0.7 94.6
Manure management CH4 719.5 0.7 95.2
(b) IPCC Tier 1 category level assessment - excluding LULUCF (total emissions)      
IPCC categories Gas 2008 estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
Level assessment (%) Cumulative total (%)
Enteric fermentation CH4 22,657.5 30.5 30.5
Transport – road transportation CO2 12,670.2 17.0 47.5
Stationary combustion – gas CO2 8,033.0 10.8 58.3
Agricultural soils –  pasture, range and paddock N2O 7,125.9 9.6 67.9
Stationary combustion – solid CO2 6,148.4 8.3 76.1
Stationary combustion – liquid CO2 3,144.1 4.2 80.4
Agricultural soils – indirect emissions N2O 2,468.8 3.3 83.7
Agricultural soils – direct emissions N2O 1,777.7 2.4 86.1
Metal production – iron and steel production CO2 1,539.2 2.1 88.2
Solid waste disposal on land CH4 1,278.4 1.7 89.9
Transport – civil aviation CO2 942.9 1.3 91.1
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 796.4 1.1 92.2
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 – refrigeration and air conditioning HFCs & PFCs 727.7 1.0 93.2
Manure management CH4 719.5 1.0 94.2
Mineral products – cement production CO2 634.2 0.9 95.0

Table 1.5.3 New Zealand’s key category analysis for 2008 – IPCC Tier 1 trend assessment including LULUCF (a) and excluding LULUCF (b)

(a) IPCC Tier 1 category trend assessment - including LULUCF (net emissions)          
IPCC categories Gas Base year estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
2008 estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
Trend assessment Contribution to trend (%) Cumulative total (%)
Forest land remaining forest land CO2 33034.12 12441.13 0.204 42.2 42.2
Conversion to forest land CO2 166.24 17327.74 0.141 29.2 71.4
Transport – road transportation CO2 7500.22 12670.17 0.035 7.2 78.6
Stationary combustion – solid CO2 3139.65 6148.38 0.022 4.5 83.0
Enteric fermentation CH4 21837.22 22657.49 0.016 3.3 86.3
Conversion to grassland CO2 1114.80 2849.61 0.013 2.7 89.0
Solid waste disposal on land CH4 2063.21 1278.45 0.009 1.8 90.8
Agricultural soils – direct emissions N2O 515.17 1777.67 0.010 2.0 92.9
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 – refrigeration and air conditioning HFCs & PFCs 0.00 727.74 0.006 1.2 94.1
Metal production – aluminium production PFCs 629.87 36.47 0.006 1.1 95.2
(b) IPCC Tier 1 category trend assessment - excluding LULUCF (total emissions)        
IPCC categories Gas Base year estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
2008 estimate 
(Gg CO2-e)
Trend assessment Contribution to trend (%) Cumulative total (%)
Enteric fermentation CH4 21837.22 22657.49 0.045 23.7 23.7
Transport – road transportation CO2 7500.22 12670.17 0.038 20.3 44.0
Stationary combustion – solid CO2 3139.65 6148.38 0.025 13.4 57.5
Agricultural soils –  pasture, range and paddock N2O 6858.75 7125.90 0.014 7.4 64.9
Solid waste disposal on land CH4 2063.21 1278.45 0.014 7.3 72.1
Agricultural soils - direct emissions N2O 515.17 1777.67 0.013 6.7 78.8
Stationary combustion – gas CO2 7306.82 8033.04 0.010 5.3 84.1
Metal production – aluminium production PFCs 629.87 36.47 0.008 4.3 88.4
Consumption of halocarbons and SF6 – refrigeration and air conditioning HFCs & PFCs 0.00 727.74 0.008 4.2 92.6
Fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations CO2 230.14 796.37 0.006 3.0 95.6

1.5.2 KP-LULUCF activities

The LULUCF categories identified as key (level assessment) under the Climate Change Convention in the 2008 year that correspond to the key categories for Article 3.3 activities under the Kyoto Protocol are shown in Table 1.5.4.

Table 1.5.4 Key categories under the Kyoto Protocol and corresponding categories under the Climate Change Convention

Category as reported under the Climate Change Convention Article 3.3 activities under the Kyoto Protocol
Conversion to forest land Afforestation and reforestation
Conversion to grassland Deforestation

1.6 Quality assurance and quality control

Quality assurance and quality control are an integral part of preparing New Zealand’s annual inventory. The Ministry for the Environment developed a quality assurance and control plan in 2004, as required by the Climate Change Convention reporting guidelines (UNFCCC, 2006), to formalise, document and archive the quality-assurance and control procedures. Details of the quality-control and quality-assurance activities performed during the compilation of the 2010 inventory submission are discussed in sections 1.6.1 and 1.6.2 below.

1.6.1 Quality control

For this submission, the completion of the IPCC (2000) Tier 1 quality-control check sheets for each sector was the responsibilities of the leading agency. The national inventory complier was provided with common reporting format databases for all sectors that passed all Tier 1 checks. The Tier 1 checks are based on the procedures suggested in the IPCC good practice guidance (IPCC, 2000). All key categories for the 2008 inventory year were checked.

All sector-level data was entered into the common reporting format database by February 2009. This deadline allowed two months for the agencies leading each sector to complete their own quality-control activities.

Data in the common reporting format database was checked visually for anomalies, errors and omissions. The Ministry for the Environment used the quality-control 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-assurance system to ensure risks are lowered at all stages of the inventory compilation process. In 2008, KMPG, a professional services firm, 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.

A cross-government reporting governance group has been established to provide leadership over reporting and projections of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The reporting governance group will enhance consistency, coordination, timeliness and risk management of reporting information and processes. The scope of the group includes New Zealand’s national greenhouse gas inventory, projections reporting for the Kyoto Protocol and beyond, New Zealand’s national system for reporting under the Kyoto Protocol and quantitative analysis of emissions and removals supporting policy formation. Meetings are held monthly. Further information is included in chapter 13.

For this submission, other improvements to quality assurance were made, particularly to the agriculture and LULUCF sectors. New Zealand established an independent agricultural inventory advisory panel to assess whether proposed changes to the agriculture sector can be accepted. Reports and/or papers on proposed changes must be independently peer reviewed before they are presented to the panel. The panel assesses if the proposed changes have been rigorously tested and if there is sufficient scientific evidence to support the change. The panel advises the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of their recommendations. Refer to section 6.1.1 for further details.

In 2009, New Zealand contracted a LULUCF expert reviewer to perform an independent peer review of the LULUCF sector and Article 3.3 activities under the Kyoto Protocol for this submission. The review found that New Zealand’s LULUCF sector reporting is on track to meet the Climate Change Convention requirements in relation to the five key inventory principles (transparency, comparability, completeness, consistency and accuracy), and confirmed that the LUCAS methodology and general approach are consistent with IPCC good practice guidance. The review made a number of suggestions for improvements to the 2010 submission, and highlighted areas for future improvement to further enhance the accuracy and completeness of the LULUCF sector. These recommendations were either addressed, or have been identified as future improvements to the LUCAS programme.

The technical competence of key contributors to the inventory has been increased. Four government officials have passed their expert review exams under the Climate Change Convention for the energy, agriculture, waste, and land use, land-use change and forestry sectors. Three other government officials, already expert reviewers under the Climate Change Convention, passed their mandatory Kyoto Protocol exams.

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 (www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/).

The energy and agriculture activity data provided by Statistics New Zealand is subject to its own rigorous quality-assurance and control procedures on the data.

1.6.3 Verification activities

Where relevant in a sector, verification activities are discussed under the appropriate section.

1.6.4 Treatment of confidentiality issues

Confidential issues largely apply to sources of emissions in the energy and industrial processes sectors and are therefore discussed under the relevant sections of chapters 3 and 4.

1.6.5 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 2006 inventory submission 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. The 2009 inventory submission was reviewed in September 2009. 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 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 Protocol units, was operational on 1 January 2008.

1.7 Inventory uncertainty

1.7.1 Reporting under the Climate Change Convention

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 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).

In most instances, the uncertainty values are determined by analysis of emission factors or activity data by expert judgement from sectoral or industry experts, or by referring to uncertainty ranges quoted in the IPCC documentation. A Monte Carlo simulation was used to determine uncertainty for N2O from agricultural soils in the 2001/02 inventory. The 95 per cent confidence intervals developed from the Monte Carlo simulation were extended to the 2008 inventory.

Total emissions

Uncertainty in 2008

The uncertainty in total emissions (excluding emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector) is ±12.9 per cent. The high uncertainty in a given year is dominated by emissions of N2O from agricultural soils (section 6.5) and CH4 from enteric fermentation (section 6.2). These categories comprised 11.3 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively of New Zealand’s total emissions and removals uncertainty in 2008. The uncertainty in these categories reflected the inherent variability when estimating emissions from natural systems, for example, the uncertainty in cattle dry-matter intake and CH4 emissions per unit of dry-matter.

The improved uncertainty analysis for enteric fermentation from cattle and sheep was based on Kelliher et al (2009). Previous analysis expressed the coefficient of variation according to the standard deviation of the methane yield. Kelliher et al (2009) calculated the uncertainty by expressing the coefficient of variation according to the standard error of the methane yield (section 6.2.3).

Uncertainty in the trend

The uncertainty in total emissions (excluding emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector) in the trend is ±4.1 per cent. In the 2009 submission, the most recent year (2007) had an estimated uncertainty for total emissions of ±20.6 per cent and ±5.5 in the trend (1990–2007). The decrease in the uncertainties is largely due to the improved uncertainty analysis for enteric fermentation (section 6.2.3).

Net emissions

Uncertainty in 2008

The calculated uncertainty for New Zealand’s net inventory (including emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector) in 2008 is ±9.5 per cent. Removals of CO2 from forest land were a major contribution to the uncertainty for 2008 at 3.0 per cent of New Zealand’s net inventory.

Uncertainty in the trend

The uncertainty in net emissions (including emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector) in the trend from 1990 to 2008 is ±3.8 per cent. The greatest contributor to the uncertainty in the trend for the net inventory is CO2 removals from forest land accounting for 2.6 per cent. Carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector contributed 2.4 per cent to the uncertainty in the trend for the net inventory. The large uncertainty in energy is due to the activity data having greater uncertainty than the energy emission factors.

In the 2009 submission, the most recent year (2007) had an estimated uncertainty for net emissions of ±16.7 per cent and ±4.5 in the trend (1990–2007). The decrease in the uncertainties is largely due to improved data from LUCAS and improved uncertainty analysis for enteric fermentation from cattle and sheep. Development of the LUCAS has reduced uncertainty for the LULUCF sector by using New Zealand-specific emission and removal factors, and has used spatial data mapped specifically for the Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol reporting. Details of LUCAS are included in chapter 7.

1.7.2 KP-LULUCF

The combined uncertainty for emissions from afforestation and reforestation activities in 2008 was ±12.0 per cent. In 2008, the combined uncertainty for natural forest deforestation was ±6.8 per cent, ±19.5 for deforestation of pre-1990 forests and ±12.0 per cent for the deforestation of post-1989 forests.

Please refer to section 11.3.1 for further information on the uncertainty analysis for Article 3.3 activities under the Kyoto Protocol and how this relates to the Climate Change Convention LULUCF uncertainty analysis.

1.8 Inventory completeness

1.8.1 Reporting under the Climate Change Convention

The New Zealand inventory for the period 1990–2008 is complete. In accordance with good practice guidance (IPCC, 2000), New Zealand has focused its resources for inventory development on the key categories.

A background MS Excel workbook is provided for agriculture and submitted with the inventory. The file is also available for download with this report from the Ministry for the Environment’s website (www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate).

1.8.2 KP-LULUCF

New Zealand has accounted for all carbon pools for Article 3.3 activities under the Kyoto Protocol. The carbon in organic soils, however, has been calculated as for mineral soils.

The reasons for this are that New Zealand uses a Tier 2 methodology to estimate soil carbon stock, using New Zealand-specific land-use and soil pedon data (Scott et al, 2002). The resulting peer-reviewed Soil Carbon Monitoring System does not estimate carbon stock or carbon changes for organic soils, as it calculates concentration within a fixed depth rather than total organic carbon mass (Tate et al, 2005).

Approximately 0.9 per cent of New Zealand’s land area has organic soils, and between 1 January 1990 and 1 January 2008, 2,560 hectares of land with organic soils underwent land-use change. This represents 0.3 per cent of the total area of land-use change. New Zealand has reported organic soils as mineral soils in the reporting of soil carbon, and has used the notation key IE (‘included elsewhere’) for organic soils in the common reporting format tables. See section 7.1.2 for further detail.


1  Annex II to the Climate Change Convention (a subset of Annex I) lists the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries at the time the Climate Change Convention was agreed.

2  Annex I to the Climate Change Convention lists the industrialised countries that were committed to returning their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000 as per Article 4.2(a) and (b).