View all publications

1 Introduction

The Kyoto Protocol commits Annex I [Annex I Parties are industrialised countries that have signed and ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and are listed in Annex I of that document.] Parties that ratified the Protocol to limit or to take responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions. Annex I Parties in Annex B of the Protocol (UNFCCC 1998) must put in place domestic policies and measures to address emissions or take responsibility for emissions in excess of their commitment. The individual emissions targets of Annex I Parties were intended to equate to a total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 5 percent from 1990 emissions levels in the first commitment period from 2008 to 2012 [Note that the calculation of 5 percent includes the USA and Australia, which have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol.] . Emissions may also be offset by increasing the amount of greenhouse gases removed by carbon "sinks," eg, forests planted since 1990. New Zealand has committed to reducing its average net emissions of greenhouse gases over the first commitment period to 1990 levels or to take responsibility for the difference. New Zealand can meet its commitment through emissions reductions and use of the Kyoto Protocol flexibility mechanisms such as carbon trading, Joint Implementation, the Clean Development Mechanism, and offsetting increased emissions against carbon dioxide removed by forests.

This report projects New Zealand's emissions and removals of greenhouse gases during the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The projection follows New Zealand's annual inventory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and considers emissions and removals of the gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Global warming potentials are used to convert each of the gases to a carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). The global warming potential values used in this report are from the IPCC Second Assessment Report (IPCC 1995) as per the UNFCCC reporting guidelines.

The report is a compilation of sectoral projections from across Government. Agricultural and forest sink projections are provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), energy and industrial processes projections are from the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and waste projections are from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE). The Ministry for the Environment combines the sectoral projections to create the projected balance of units over the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.