New Zealand energy sector greenhouse gas emissions

Emissions data tables

These files contain the latest provisional estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector in New Zealand. For official emissions data, refer to New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, available here:

New Zealand's Greenhouse Gas Inventory(external link)

In addition to energy sector emissions, New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory includes emissions from agriculture, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, waste and land use change and forestry.

Quarterly electricity and liquid fuel emissions data tables [XLSX, 176 KB]

Annual emissions data table [XLSX, 541 KB]

Emissions from the energy sector

We are responsible for estimating and reporting annual emissions from the energy sector. Two types of emissions are produced by this sector — combustion emissions and fugitive emissions.

Combustion emissions result from fuel being burnt to produce useful energy. Examples are 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 are emissions from the venting of CO2 at the Kapuni Gas Treatment Plant, gas flaring at oil production facilities, and emissions from geothermal fields.

Emissions by fuel type

New Zealand’s energy emissions are dominated by liquid fuels. These account for over half of all energy sector 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 sector emissions.

Emissions by sector

New Zealand’s energy emissions are dominated by three main sectors — national transport, manufacturing industries, and electricity generation.

  • Emissions from national transport account for the largest share of total energy sector emissions.
  • Emissions from manufacturing have grown in recent years. The level can vary significantly depending on the level of methanol production, which has historically been a large source of emissions.
  • Electricity generation emissions have increased significantly since 1990, although there are large annual variations within this sector. These reflect the cost and availability of hydro generation, which New Zealand relies heavily on.

These sector breakdowns should be interpreted with caution, as sector splits are not as precise as by fuel type. This is due to difficulties in allocating liquid fuel use to end-uses.

Why we monitor emissions

The annual reporting of national emissions estimates is a requirement under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and is used for measuring New Zealand’s progress towards its international emissions reduction targets.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) website(external link)

Kyoto Protocol website(external link)

More information about New Zealand’s various greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets is available here:

About New Zealand’s emissions reduction targets(external link)

Guidance for organisations to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions

The Ministry for the Environment has produced a guide for organisations who want to voluntarily monitor and report greenhouse gas emissions for their New Zealand operations.

Measuring emissions: A guide for organisations(external link)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand Licence(external link).


Last updated: 13 June 2024