New Zealand Sees Fall in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Seasonally adjusted greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in New Zealand decreased by 1.8% (340 kilotonnes), in the December 2022 quarter, according to figures released by Stats NZ, New Zealand’s official data agency.

“The fall in quarterly emissions was largely driven by a further increase in the proportion of renewable energy sources being used to generate electricity, and the corresponding drop in the share of fossil fuels being used for this purpose,” environmental-economic accounts manager Stephen Oakley said.

“Quarterly emissions statistics provide timely estimates of New Zealand’s gross emissions produced by industries, as part of their production processes, and by households, through their use of things like private vehicles and heating.”

“In the December 2022 year, industrial emissions accounted for 88.5% of total emissions with households contributing the remaining 11,” added Oakley.

Stats NZ said the share of renewable energy sources increased to 94.7% in December 2022, a level not seen in decades, with a historically low proportion of gas and coal being used to generate electricity.

The electricity, gas, water, and waste services emissions series, which began in March 2014, fell to its lowest recorded level. Manufacturing industry emissions also declined for the third quarter in a row.

In the September 2022 quarter, emissions reached their lowest recorded level since the series started in March 2014. In the December 2022 quarter, they dropped a further 7.5% (165 kilotonnes) to 2,027 kilotonnes.

Emissions from agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries also decreased by 1.3% (132 kilotonnes) this quarter after increasing by 0.9% last quarter. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing activity, as measured by GDP, fell 0.7 percent in the December 2022 quarter.

Household emissions decreased 1.9% (41 kilotonnes) in the December 2022 quarter, driven by a 2.5% (49 kilotonnes) fall in private transport emissions.

Household emissions include the use of private vehicles for transport, but do not include emissions associated with households taking flights or using public transport – these are picked up as industrial emissions from the transport industry.

However annual emissions from the transport, postal, and warehousing services industry in New Zealand have increased 18.0% (801 kilotonnes) since December 2021 but remain below their pre-Covid-19 levels.

Stats NZ said the next release of quarterly GHG emissions (industry and household) on 19 October 2023, will include statistics from the March and June 2023 quarters.