Greenhouse gas emissions

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For comprehensive annual data on all Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions refer to the publication Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Like many countries, New Zealand is concerned about the potential adverse effects of climate change. Long-term risks to New Zealand include rising sea levels affecting the coastal environment and infrastructure, reduced agricultural production and adverse effects on native ecosystems and natural resources. New Zealand recognises that climate change is a global challenge and is involved in international efforts to reduce emissions.

It was in this context that in 1993 New Zealand ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This was followed by ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 and the Paris Agreement in 2016. New Zealand’s current target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.  

Emissions from the Energy Sector

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment is responsible for the reporting of annual emissions from the energy sector.

There are two types of emissions that are produced by this sector: combustion emissions and fugitive emissions. Combustion emissions result from fuel being burnt to produce useful energy. Examples of combustion emissions include 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 of fugitive emissions include the venting of CO2 at the Kapuni Gas Treatment Plant, gas flaring at oil production facilities and emissions from geothermal fields. 

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

New Zealand’s energy emissions are dominated by three main sectors: national transport, electricity generation and manufacturing industries. Emissions from national transport account for the largest share of total energy emissions. Emissions from electricity generation have increased significantly since 1990 although there are large annual variations within this sector reflecting the cost and availability of hydro generation (which New Zealand relies heavily on). Emissions from manufacturing have grown in recent years although the level can vary significantly depending on the level of methanol production, which has historically been a large source of emissions.

It should be noted that sector splits are not as precise as by fuel type due to difficulties in allocating liquid fuel use to end uses. Sector breakdowns therefore need to be interpreted with some caution. 

Energy Greenhouse Gas Data

This page includes the most recent data available to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. For New Zealand's latest complete Greenhouse Gas Inventory submission, please refer to the Ministry for the Environment's website.

For the latest guidance on corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting refer to the Ministry for the Environment Publication Guidance for Voluntary, Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reporting


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