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NZ greenhouse gas emissions show no reduction

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Otautahi – New Zealand greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019 showed no reductions compared to 2005 levels and glacier ice is continuing to decrease, Stats NZ says.

The two indicators provide important information about our environment. Greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming and subsequently climate change. Measuring both levels is vital to support progress in greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Glacier ice volume is a good indicator for climate change, because fluctuations in ice volume are strongly influenced by temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation.

In 2019 New Zealand gross GHG emissions were 82.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, 0.2 percent lower than 2005 levels. The emissions were mainly made up of carbon dioxide (45.5 percent), methane (42.1 percent), and nitrous oxide (10.2 percent).

2020 and 2021 figures should be lower mainly due to covid. The emissions trading scheme price will begin to cause switching and full hydro dams and repaired gas production will reduce coal burn.

The 2019 glacier ice volumes show a 35 percent decrease in NZ glaciers from 1978 to 2020, down from 53.3 km3 to 34.6km3. The highest three losses are in the last 10 years, indicating that Aotearoa is are losing its glaciers more rapidly.

The latest statistics will be part of a larger tranche which will inform the Ministry for the Environment and the next major Stats environment report to be released in April.

New Zealand’s share of global GHG emissions is small, but its gross emissions per person is high. New Zealand has several domestic and international greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Gross methane emissions were mainly produced by livestock (88.4 percent). Methane emissions from livestock in 2019 were up 9.0 percent from 1990 and down 1.6 percent from 2005.

New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 54.9 million tonnes, 33.5 percent higher than 1990 due to the underlying increase in gross emissions, and 4.0 percent lower than 2005.

The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions removed by forest land in New Zealand ranged between 21.1 million and 36.8 million tonnes over the period 1990 to 2019. In 2019 net GHG emissions were 2.0 percent higher than 2018.