Greenhouse gas emissions
Download the data tables
Like many countries, New Zealand is concerned about the potential adverse effects of climate change. Long-term risks to New Zealand include rising sea levels affecting the coastal environment and infrastructure, reduced agricultural production and adverse effects on native ecosystems and natural resources. New Zealand recognises that climate change is a global challenge and is involved in international efforts to reduce emissions.
It was in this context that in 1993 New Zealand ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This was followed by ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. As a party to the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand has committed to reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases over 2008–2012 (the first commitment period) to 1990 levels or take responsibility for any emissions above this level if it cannot meet this target.
Emissions from Energy and Industrial Process
The Ministry of Economic Development is responsible for the reporting of annual emissions from energy and industrial processes.
There are two types of emissions that are produced by these sectors: combustion emissions and fugitive emissions. Combustion emissions result from fuel being burnt to produce useful energy. Examples of combustion emissions include emissions from transport, provision of heat to industry and from thermal electricity generation. Fugitive emissions result from production, transmission and storage of fuels, and from non-productive combustion. Examples of fugitive emissions include the venting of CO2 at the Kapuni Gas Treatment Plant, gas flaring at oil production facilities and emissions from geothermal fields.
Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Fuel Type
New Zealand’s energy emissions are dominated by liquid fuels which account for over half of all energy emissions and have been steadily increasing since 1990. Gas and coal make up most of the remainder, with biomass and fugitive emissions contributing only a small percentage of total energy emissions.
Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector
New Zealand’s energy emissions are dominated by three main sectors: national transport, electricity generation and manufacturing industries. Emissions from national transport account for the largest share of total energy emissions, although in recent years the growth in emissions from this sector appear to have slowed. Emissions from electricity generation have increased significantly since 1990 although there are large annual variations within this sector reflecting the cost and availability of hydro generation (which New Zealand relies heavily on). Emissions from manufacturing industries has seen some growth in recent years but has overall been declining since 2002 as a result of Methanex scaling back methanol production, which has historically been a large source of emissions.
It should be noted that sector splits are not as precise as by fuel type due to difficulties in allocating liquid fuel use to end uses. Sector breakdowns therefore need to be interpreted with some caution.
Energy Greenhouse Gas Data
This page includes the most recent data available to the Ministry of Economic Development. For New Zealand's latest complete Greenhouse Gas Inventory submission, please refer to the Ministry for the Environment's website.
For comprehensive annual data on all Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions refer to the publication Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
For the latest guidance on corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting refer to the Ministry for the Environment Publication.