Ministry releases latest guide for organisations measuring emissions

The Ministry for the Environment has issued an updated guide today for organisations to measure and report on emissions.

New Zealand’s emissions reduction plan, to be released next month, will put this country on the pathway to meeting its 2050 targets. It will provide a comprehensive look at actions everyone can take to reduce environmental impacts from greenhouse gas emissions.

Measuring Emissions: a guide for organisations is an important tool to help organisations to act on climate change. The guide provides information on how to produce an inventory, what data is needed to work out emissions and other helpful workbooks and reporting examples.

The updated guide is relevant to participants in the Government’s carbon neutral programme. It uses data from the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2020 as well as directly from sources such as Air New Zealand, KiwiRail and BRANZ.

The 2022 guide includes significant updates to domestic air travel and working-from-home emissions factors.

Updating the guidance regularly ensures emission factor data is appropriate to each reporting year that organisations and agencies report under. Most of the data is for the 2020 calendar year.

Source:  Ministry for the Environment  

Why the agriculture sector should brace for action to curb greenhouse gas emissions

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says the just-published Greenhouse Gas Inventory, from the Ministry for the Environment, underlines the case for accelerated action to reduce emissions.

The report shows that the 2020 lockdowns had an impact on emissions. Gross emissions were down by 3 per cent between 2019 and 2020, mainly driven by less travel by road, air and sea, and reduced fuel use for manufacturing.

From 1990 to 2020 gross emissions have increased by 21 per cent.

The report clearly shows where New Zealand’s emissions are coming from and – by implication – the biggest opportunities to reduce them.

These include methane emissions from agriculture and carbon emissions from transport. Continue reading

Are small-scale farms the future of global agriculture?

Small scale farming could be part of the solution to climate change, according to some of the world’s top scientists. Among them is Professor Jack Heinemann,  who contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Cycle (AR6) Report released this week, Mitigation of Climate Change.

Industrial agriculture uses carbon-intensive inputs to support large monocultural crops, while small farmers, who produce an astounding proportion of food, do not, says Professor Jack Heinemann, from the University of Canterbury’s School of Biological Sciences.

Small-scale food producers currently produce about 80% of the world’s food,  he notes.  More important, they have potential not only to increase the proportion of their contribution, but also the total that they produce.

Small-scale farmers are mostly women, he says. This is important because evidence shows that women in developing countries tend to do better at investing money from small businesses back into their families. Continue reading

Last chance for farmers to have their say on emissions pricing

Beef and Lamb New Zealand is reminding farmers that consultation on the alternative emissions pricing options to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), developed by the He Waka Eke Noa partners, closes this Sunday.

An online form must e completed before Sunday night, 27 March.

Feedback will be analysed in April and May and used by He Waka Eke Noa partners to finetune recommendations.

He Waka Eke Noa partners will provide recommendations to Government by May 31.

After that the government will consider the advice.

If the Government agrees that the ETS is not the place for managing agricultural emissions, farmers will get a further opportunity to provide input on pricing as part of further consultation before the final framework is put in place in 2025. Continue reading

NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions unchanged but annual glacier ice volumes continue to shrink

Updated environmental indicators show the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019 showed no sustained reductions compared to 2005 levels but our glacier ice volumes are continuing to decrease, Stats NZ reports.

The indicator ‘greenhouse gas emissions’ measures New Zealand’s GHG emissions from 1990 to 2019, showing the trends for emissions, quantities of different types of emissions, and their main sources.

In 2019 New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions were 82.3 million tonnes of CO2-e, 0.2% lower than 2005 and 26.4% higher than 1990. Emissions were 2.2% higher than 2018.

Gross GHG emissions were mainly made up of carbon dioxide (45.5%), methane (42.1%), and nitrous oxide (10.2%). Continue reading

Emissions down 11 per cent in one quarter but 12-months decline was just 0.4 per cent

Seasonally adjusted greenhouse gas emissions from industries and households fell 11 per cent over the September 2021 quarter according to new Stats NZ figures.

That followed a 4.7 per cent increase in the June 2021 quarter.

The September 2021 quarter fall in gross emissions was largely due to a reduction in coal use for electricity generation. COVID-19 alert level restrictions and nationwide/regional lockdowns also contributed.

Emissions decreased across all industry groupings in the September 2021 quarter, as COVID-19 restrictions took hold in the second half of the quarter.

The largest industry contributors to this decrease were electricity, gas, water, and waste services, down 33 per cent (969 kilotonnes); manufacturing, down 10 per cent (273 kilotonnes); and transport, postal, and warehousing, down 17 per cent (156 kilotonnes). Continue reading

A global plant-based diet could have a massive impact on reducing global warming

Phasing out animal agriculture around the globe in favour of a plant-based diet would substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions,  according to international modellers.

The team modelled the impact on emissions of phasing out animal agriculture over the next 15 years, which they say could reduce emissions by the equivalent of 25 gigatons of carbon dioxide each year.

The researchers say their model is limited by the assumption that land currently used for agriculture would be returned to more environmentally-friendly use, and they have not fully considered the viability of switching to a plant-based diet in areas where cropping is difficult.

Michael Eisen, of the University of California, Berkeley, and Patrick Brown, of Stanford University and Impossible Foods, have presented their findings in the open-access journal PLOS Climate.   Continue reading

Understanding climate science and emissions pricing

Why does agriculture need to take action on warming? How do targets, metrics and pricing work? What would going into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) mean?

As Beef + Lamb NZ gears up for the agriculture emissions pricing consultation in February, those questions and the application to policy of the issues surrounding them have been put to climate change scientists Dave Frame and Adrian Macey for discussion in a one-hour podcast.

The podcast addresses the fundamentals of climate science as they relate to the farm sector and key considerations such as applying GWP*, the metric that’s getting a lot of attention because its champioons contend it better accounts for the different warming behaviours of short-lived gases such as methane – unlike the GWP100 metric used in international agreements which uses carbon equivalence.

More about the GWP* metric was contained in an earlier story. Continue reading

Ozone pollution responsible for billions in crop losses

International researchers have estimated almost NZ$92 billion worth of annual losses from crop production have been caused by pollution from ozone – a greenhouse gas – across East Asia.

The researchers set up 3,000 monitoring sites across the region to try to accurately quantify the damage resulting from the exposure of wheat, rice and corn crops to ozone.

The study, published in Nature Food, includes relative yield losses of those three major staple crops in Japan, China, and South Korea.

The surface concentration of the greenhouse gas in Asia is increasing and is expected to continue to do so as the demand for food rises.

Exposure to ozone pollution hinders crop growth and agricultural production, posing a risk to food security. Previous attempts to quantify these effects, however, have likely been biased by a lack of observational or experimental data.

Zhaozhong Feng and colleagues developed ozone exposure–response relationships for the three major crops, wheat, rice and maize, using experimental data from key production regions in Asia.

The authors supplemented this information with measurements of ozone in the air from over 3,000 monitoring sites in China, Japan and South Korea.

The highest relative yield losses were found in China — 33%, 23% and 9% for wheat, rice and maize, respectively.

Overall, total annual losses in crop production as a result of ozone pollution were estimated to be US$63 billion.

The authors conclude that the impact of ozone pollution on crop production underscores the need for stricter ozone emission controls and adaptive measures at the regional level.

Link to research (DOI): 10.1038/s43016-021-00422-6

Source  Scimex

 Better ways for countries to collaborate on carbon credits

New Zealanders are among international researchers who have presented a new model for small groups of countries to work together to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlike previous ways of buying carbon credits, the researchers say Climate Action Teams will only reward emissions reductions beyond already ambitious national commitments.

In their policy brief, the researchers look at a hypothetical team among New Zealand, Switzerland, and Chile, finding that Chile could provide enough emissions mitigation to support NZ and Switzerland to meet their emissions reduction commitments at a lower cost than NZ and Switzerland’s domestic action alone.

A media release from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust says: Continue reading