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Executive Summary

ES.1 Background

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

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 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. 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.

This submission includes a complete time series of emissions and removals from 1990 through to 2008 (the current inventory year) and supplementary information required for the Kyoto Protocol. Each inventory report is 15 months in arrears allowing time for data to be collected and analysed.

Reporting afforestation, reforestation and deforestation activities since 1990 (Article 3.3 activities under the Kyoto Protocol) is mandatory in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. 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’s intention is to account for Article 3.3 activities at the end of the first commitment period. New Zealand did not elect to report on any of the Article 3.4 activities during the first commitment period.

ES.2 National trends

Total (gross) emissions

Total emissions include emissions from energy, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, and the waste sector, but do not include emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector. Reporting total emissions excluding the LULUCF sector is consistent with the reporting requirements of the Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC, 2006).

In 1990, New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 60,773.6 Gg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). In 2008, total greenhouse gas emissions had increased by 13,885.1 Gg CO2-e (22.8 per cent) to 74,658.7 Gg CO2-e (Figure ES.2.1). Between 1990 and 2008, the average annual growth in total emissions was 1.3 per cent per year.

New Zealand’s total emissions trend is different from many other countries. Instead of a predictable increase or decline in emissions, the trend for New Zealand consists of year-to-year fluctuations (Figure ES.2.1). These fluctuations are due to two main factors. The first is the change in proportion of non-renewable energy used in electricity and heat production affecting CO2 emissions. The second factor is the effect of droughts on agriculture productivity and livestock numbers affecting N2O and CH4 emissions.

Net emissions

Net emissions include emissions from the energy, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, waste sector, and emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector. In 1990, New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions were 29,707.3 Gg CO2-e. In 2008, net greenhouse gas emissions had increased by 18,774.6 Gg CO2-e (63.2 per cent) to 48,482.0 Gg CO2-e (Figure ES.2.1.1). The increase in net emissions between 1990 and 2008 is larger than for total emissions because the net removals from LULUCF were greater in 1990 than in 2008.

Figure ES.2.1.1 New Zealand’s total and net emissions (under the Climate Change Convention) from 1990 to 2008


Figure ES.2.1.1 New Zealand’s total and net emissions (under the Climate Change Convention) from 1990 to 2008

  Total emissions
Gg CO2 equivalent
Net emissions
Gg CO2 equivalent
1990 60,773.6 29,707.3
1991 61,063.1 29,528.5
1992 62,299.8 31,754.9
1993 61,720.5 31,067.9
1994 62,502.4 32,610.6
1995 62,547.4 33,779.3
1996 63,698.9 34,990.1
1997 66,388.5 36,516.9
1998 64,321.2 32,528.1
1999 66,103.0 33,653.0
2000 69,591.1 38,309.9
2001 72,234.5 42,027.7
2002 72,706.9 45,115.9
2003 75,492.6 47,069.5
2004 74,778.6 46,879.0
2005 76,738.2 52,945.6
2006 76,997.1 57,282.9
2007 74,718.8 57,898.1
2008 74,658.7 48,482.0

Reporting under the Kyoto Protocol

New Zealand’s initial assigned amount under the Kyoto Protocol is recorded as 309,564,733 metric tonnes CO2 equivalent. The initial assigned amount is five times the total emissions reported in the 1990 inventory submitted as part of New Zealand’s Initial Report under the Kyoto Protocol (Ministry for the Environment, 2006). The initial assigned amount does not change during the first commitment period (2008–2012) of the Kyoto Protocol. In contrast, the time series of emissions and removals reported in each inventory submission are subject to continuous improvement. Consequently, the total emissions in 1990 as reported in this submission is different (1.8 per cent) from the 1990 level of 61,893.0 Gg CO2-e used in the initial assigned amount calculation.

In 2008, net removals from land subject to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation were –14,416.8 Gg CO2-e. Removals from afforestation and reforestation were –17,327.4 Gg CO2-e. Deforestation emissions were 2,910.6 Gg CO2-e.

ES.3 Gas trends

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, in 2008, CO2 was the major greenhouse gas in New Zealand’s emissions profile (Table ES.3.1.1). This growth in emissions of CO2 indicates the growth in emissions from the energy sector.

Table ES.3.1.1 New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions by gas in 1990 and 2008
Direct greenhouse gas emissions Gg CO2-equivalent Change from 1990 (Gg CO2-equivalent) Change from 1990 (%)
  1990 2008    
CO2 24,893.3 36,063.2 +11,169.9 +44.9
CH4 25,456.4 25,816.2 +359.8 +1.4
N2O 9,778.9 11,913.4 +2,134.6 +21.8
HFCs NO 812.5 +812.5 NA
PFCs 629.9 38.8 –591.0 –93.8
SF6 15.2 14.5 –0.7 –4.3
Total 60,773.6 74,658.7 +13,885.1 +22.8

Notes: Carbon dioxide, CH4 and N2O values exclude emissions and removals from LULUCF. The per cent change for hydrofluorocarbons is not applicable (NA) as production of hydrofluorocarbons in 1990 was not occurring (NO). Although there may be rounding errors in this table, the figures are consistent with estimates reported in the common reporting format tables.

ES.4 Sector trends

ES.4.1 Reporting under the Climate Change Convention

Energy (chapter 3)

The energy sector was the source of 33,838.8 Gg CO2-e (45.3 per cent) of total emissions in 2008. In 2008, energy emissions had increased by 10,796.1 Gg CO2-e (46.9 per cent) from the 1990 level of 23,042.7 Gg CO2-e. This growth in emissions is primarily from the electricity generation, heat production and transport categories.

New Zealand’s electricity generation is dominated by hydroelectric generation. For the 2008 calendar year, hydro generation provided 52 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity generation. Greenhouse gas emissions from the public electricity and heat production subcategory show large inter-annual fluctuations between 1990 and 2008. The fluctuations are caused by switching between thermal and hydro generation. Drought years increase the reliance on thermal electricity generation.

Between 2007 and 2008, emissions from the energy sector increased by 1,185.2 Gg CO2‑e (3.6 per cent). This is primarily due to a 987.3 Gg CO2‑e (14.8 per cent) increase in emissions from public electricity and heat production due to low hydro inflows for 2008. Public electricity and heat production emissions also rose in 2008 due to the increased use of coal in electricity generation.

An increase of 368.2 Gg CO2‑e (6.9 per cent) in the manufacturing industries and construction category between 2007 and 2008 also contributed to the increase in energy emissions. However, these increases were in part offset by a 623.7 Gg CO2‑e (4.2 per cent) decrease in the transport category due to the high petrol and diesel prices in 2008 and the beginning of the global recession.

Industrial processes (chapter 4)

The industrial processes sector accounted for 4,292.0 Gg CO2-e (5.7 per cent) of total emissions in 2008. Emissions from the industrial processes sector increased 906.2 Gg CO2-e (26.8 per cent) from the 1990 level of 3,385.8 Gg CO2-e. This increase was mainly caused by growth in emissions from the consumption of hydrofluorocarbons.

Between 2007 and 2008, emissions from the industrial processes sector decreased by 344.6 Gg CO2-e (7.4 per cent). The largest decrease of 183.3 Gg CO2-e (8.1 per cent) was due to a reduction in emissions from steel and aluminium production.

Between 2007 and 2008, emissions from the consumption of halocarbons and SF6 category decreased by 105.3 Gg CO2-e (11.3 per cent.) This was caused by reduced sales of new refrigerant (including halocarbons imported in bulk and in equipment, excluding exports). There was also a reduction in the amount of HFC-134a sold to the mobile air conditioning industry.

Solvent and other product use (chapter 5)

In 2008, the solvent and other product use sector was responsible for 31.0 Gg CO2-e (0.04 per cent) of total emissions.

Agriculture (chapter 6)

The agriculture sector was the largest source of emissions in 2008, contributing 34,826.3 Gg CO2-e (46.6 per cent) of total emissions (Table ES.4.1.1 and Figure ES.4.1.1). Consequently, New Zealand has a unique emissions profile. In other developed countries, agricultural emissions are typically less than 10 per cent of total emissions. In 2008, New Zealand’s agricultural emissions increased by 2,960.9 Gg CO2-e (9.3 per cent) from the 1990 level of 31,865.4 Gg CO2-e (Figure ES.4.1.2). The change in emissions since 1990 is shown in Figure 2.3.3. The agriculture sector contributed 11,434.1 Gg CO2-e (96.0 per cent) of New Zealand’s total N2O emissions and 23,392.2 Gg CO2-e (90.6 per cent) of total CH4 emissions in 2008.

Between 2007 and 2008, emissions from the agriculture sector decreased 737.1 Gg CO2-e (2.1 per cent) (Figure 2.3.3). This was largely due to a decrease in the population of sheep (4,372,613 head or 11.4 per cent), deer (172,699 head or 12.4 per cent) and non-dairy cattle (256,745 head or 5.8 per cent). The drought that affected most of New Zealand throughout 2008 was the main cause for these decreases in animal numbers (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, 2009). This was the second year in a row drought affected some regions of New Zealand.

LULUCF (chapter 7)

Net removals from the LULUCF sector were estimated to be –26,176.8 Gg CO2-e in 2008, and have decreased by 4,889.5 Gg CO2-e (15.7 per cent) from the 1990 level of –31,066.3 Gg CO2-e. This decrease is largely due to the harvesting and replanting of plantation forests in the five years prior to 2008 as this lowered the average age and therefore the CO2 absorption capacity of planted forests in 2008. The decrease is also due to an increase in emissions from deforestation.

Waste (chapter 8)

The waste sector accounted for 1,670.7 Gg CO2-e (2.2 per cent) of total emissions in 2008. Emissions from the waste sector had decreased by 767.5 Gg CO2-e (31.5 per cent) from the 1990 level of 2,438.2 Gg CO2-e. This decrease was largely due to initiatives to improve solid waste management practices.

Table ES.4.1.1 New Zealand’s emissions by sector in 1990 and 2008
Sector Gg CO2-equivalent Change from 1990 (Gg CO2-equivalent) Change from 1990 (%)
1990 2008    
Energy 23,042.7 33,838.8 +10,796.1 +46.9
Industrial processes 3,385.8 4,292.0 +906.2 +26.8
Solvent and other product use 41.5 31.0 –10.5 −25.4
Agriculture 31,865.4 34,826.3 +2,960.9 +9.3
Waste 2,438.2 1,670.7 −767.5 −31.5
Total (excluding LULUCF) 60,773.6 74,658.7 +13,885.1 +22.8
LULUCF −31,066.3 −26,176.8 +4,889.5 +15.7
Net Total (including LULUCF) 29,707.3 48,482.0 +18,774.6 +63.2

Note: LULUCF includes CO2 removals and emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O. Net removals from the LULUCF sector are as reported under the Climate Change Convention (chapter 7). Although there may be rounding errors in this table, the figures are consistent with estimates reported in the common reporting format tables.

Figure ES.4.1.1 New Zealand’s emissions by sector in 2008


Figure ES.4.1.1 New Zealand’s emissions by sector in 2008

Sector Gg CO2 equivalent
Energy 33,838.8
Industrial processes 4,292.0
Solvent and other product use 31.0
Waste 1,670.7
Agriculture 34,826.3
Land-use change & forestry -26,176.8

Note: Emissions from the solvent and other product use sector are not represented in this figure. Net removals from the LULUCF sector are as reported under the Climate Change Convention (chapter 7). Although there may be rounding errors, the figures are consistent with estimates reported in the common reporting format tables.

Figure ES.4.1.2 Change in New Zealand’s emissions by sector from 1990 to 2008

  1990
Gg CO2 equivalent
2008
Gg CO2 equivalent
Energy 23,042.7 33,838.8
Industrial processes 3,385.8 4,292.0
Solvent and other product use 41.5 31.0
Waste 2,438.2 1,670.7
Agriculture 31,865.4 34,826.3

ES.4.2 Activities under Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol

Estimates of removals and emissions under Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol are included in the 2008 inventory (Table ES.4.2.1).

Afforestation and reforestation

During 2008, a gross area of 1,000 hectares of post-1989 forest was established. Between 1990 and 2008, it is estimated that a gross area of 580,524 hectares of post-1989 forest was established as a result of afforestation and reforestation activities. The gross area includes 11,749 hectares of land in transition to post-1989 forest that has subsequently been deforested. The net area of post-1989 forest as at 31 December 2008 was 568,775 hectares. The net area is the total area of post-1989 forest minus deforestation since 1 January 1990.

Deforestation

During 2008, 4,818 hectares of all forest (natural forest, pre-1990 planted forest and post-1989 forest), equivalent to emissions of 2,910.6 Gg CO2-e, was deforested. Deforestation of all forests in 2008 has decreased from the 2007 level of 18,151 hectares, equivalent to 13,115.6 Gg of CO2.

Table ES.4.2.1 New Zealand’s net emissions and removals from land subject to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation as reported under Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol in 2008
Source Gross area (ha) 1990–2008 Net area (ha)
2008
Emissions in 2008 (Gg CO 2 -e)
Afforestation/reforestation 580,524 568,775 –17,327.4
Forest land not harvested since the beginning of the commitment period 568,274 –17,395.1
Forest land harvested since the beginning of the commitment period 500 67.8
Deforestation 96,355 4,818 2,910.6
Total –14,416.8

Notes: Afforestation/reforestation refers to new forest established since 1 January 1990. The gross afforestation/reforestation area includes 11,749 hectares of land in transition to post-1989 forest that has subsequently been deforested. The net afforestation/reforestation area includes 1,000 hectares of new forest plantings in 2008. The 2008 areas are as at 31 December 2008. Columns may not total due to rounding.

ES.5 Improvements

In this submission, the most recent year (2008) had an estimated uncertainty for net emissions of ±9.5 per cent and ±3.8 per cent for the trend (1990–2008). This is an improvement from the 2009 submission, when 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 because of improved data from the Land Use and Carbon Analysis System (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.

Further improvements made to the estimates reported in this inventory since the 2009 submission are summarised in chapter 10. Improvements made to the national system are included in chapter 13 and improvements made to New Zealand’s national registry are included in chapter 14.

ES.6 National registry

At the beginning of the calendar year 2009, New Zealand’s national registry held 309,444,733 assigned amount units, 120,000 emissions reduction units and 10,108 certified emission reduction units. At the end of 2009, there were 308,377,715 assigned amount units, 48,098 emission reduction units and 10,108 certified emission reduction units.

New Zealand’s national registry did not hold any temporary certified emission reduction units and long-term certified emissions reduction units during 2009.

The transactions made to New Zealand’s national registry during 2009 are summarised below:

  • 1,000 assigned amount units were added to New Zealand’s national registry and 1,068,018 were subtracted. The only addition was acquired from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the greatest subtraction was 540,281 units to Norway.
  • 496,567 emission reduction units were added to New Zealand’s national registry and 568,469 were subtracted. The only addition was a New Zealand verified project under Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol. There were no external additions. The greatest subtraction was 240,000 emission reduction units to the Netherlands and 5,000 emission reduction units were transferred internally within New Zealand’s national registry.
  • 401,000 certified emission reduction units were added to New Zealand’s national registry and 401,000 were subtracted. The greatest addition was 400,500 certified emission reduction units from Switzerland. The only subtraction was made to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There were no internal transactions.
  • There were no transactions of removal units, temporary certified emission reduction units and long-term certified emissions reduction units.

During 2009, no Kyoto Protocol units were expired, replaced or cancelled.