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

B+LNZ welcomes MfE report on sequestration as an important contribution

We learned of an important new report for the farm sector and its scientists not in press statements from the Ministry for the Environment  (which published the report) or its minister, but from Beef+Lamb NZ.

The report, posted on the ministry’s website without fanfare today, is titled Net emissions and removals from vegetation and soils on sheep and beef farmland.

The  report estimates the net emissions and removals from vegetation and soils on New Zealand sheep and beef farmland, using methods consistent with New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory (MfE, 2020) and the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for reporting (IPCC, 2006b).

Woody vegetation and drained organic soils on sheep and beef farms are estimated to be a net sink, removing 5487 kt CO2-e from the atmosphere in 2018.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) removals were driven by large areas of natural (indigenous) forest and planted (exotic) forests. Emissions from vegetation were driven by deforestation and harvesting of planted forests. Continue reading

Greenhouse gas emissions rise again – SMC invites expert reaction

New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 2.2 per cent in 2017.

According to the annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory, emissions increased by 23.1 per cent between 1990 and 2017. This increase was largely driven by increases in road transport emission and fossil fuel-generated electricity production.

Key findings were:

  • New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 were 80.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e). Compared to 1990, this is a 23.1 per cent increase in emissions.
  • Continue reading

Greenhouse gas data show dairy expansion has contributed to increased emissions

The latest inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that, as at 2016, there had been a 19.6 per cent increase in emissions on 1990 levels.

Methane from dairy cattle digestive systems and carbon dioxide from road transport were the biggest contributors to the increase. The agriculture and energy sectors contribute 49.2 per cent and 39.8 per cent respectively to New Zealand’s gross emissions.

The inventory gives a picture of how much human-generated greenhouse gas is being emitted into and removed from the atmosphere.

It shows there’s still much to be done to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, said Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

Gross emissions in 2016 were 78.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – 2.4 per cent lower than 2015.

“Urgent action is needed, at a level not previously contemplated,” says Mr Shaw.

“We all need to be focused on the transition to a net zero emissions economy.

“That is why the Government is introducing the Zero Carbon Bill, which will set in law a bold, new 2050 emissions reduction target for New Zealand and establish an independent Climate Change Commission.

“The Commission will recommend interim emissions reduction targets and provide advice. It will look at how we transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2035.”

Expansion in the dairy industry has largely led to the fertiliser and methane increases in the agricultural sector.  More petrol and diesel vehicles on our roads are generating more emissions in the transport sector.

“One of the things the Commission will look at is whether and how agriculture comes into the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme. We’ll continue to invest in research and technology that can reduce agricultural emissions while increasing productivity and profitability for farmers,” says Mr Shaw.

“Other ways we are reducing emissions include the establishment of a Green Investment Fund which will direct investment towards low-emissions industries. We’ll move to electric vehicles – the Government’s own car fleet will be electric by 2025.”

The inventory shows the long-term emission rise is partly due to the increasing number of trees being cut down.

“The Government’s committed to planting one billion trees over the next 10 years,” says Mr Shaw.

“If we want to help lead the world towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must create a moral mandate underpinned by decisive action at home to reduce our own emissions.”

Key findings of the inventory:

  • New Zealand’s gross emissions have increased 19.6 per cent since 1990.
  • Methane from dairy cattle digestive systems and carbon dioxide from road transportation have contributed the most to this increase.
  • Between 2015 and 2016, gross emissions decreased by 2.4 per cent mainly from a decrease in the use of thermal fuels (coal and gas) and a decline in the number of sheep.
  • In 2016 the agriculture and energy sectors were the two largest contributors to New Zealand’s gross emissions, at 49.2 per cent and 39.8 per cent respectively.
  • The Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector offsets nearly one third of New Zealand’s gross emissions.    The LULUCF sector is where greenhouse gases from using the land (for forests, crops and pasture, for example) are monitored.  This is separate from the livestock emissions reported in the agriculture sector. It covers our use of soil, trees, plants, biomass and timber and is the only sector where carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere.
  • Net emissions have increased by 54.2 per cent since 1990 because of more trees being cut down and an increase in gross emissions.
  • In 2016, approximately 5099 hectares of new forest was planted and 4945 hectares deforested.

About the Greenhouse Gas inventory

Inventory data is NZ’s official GHG estimate, used for domestic and international reporting and for helping track progress towards targets. Data from the inventory will be used when the Government consults with New Zealanders about the upcoming Zero Carbon Bill.

Further information

Source: Minister for Climate Change