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Greenhouse gas emissions trending down

Media release

9 April 2014

Greenhouse gas emissions trending down
The Wellington region appears to be bucking the national trend by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in spite of increases in population and regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Fran Wilde, Chair of the Wellington Regional Council, says results in the recently released Wellington Region Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, show the region has reduced its emissions by about 3 per cent (excluding forestry) since 2000/01. The latest national greenhouse gas inventory report is due out later this week.

“Increases in emissions are usually closely linked with growth in population and GDP. Since 2000/01, the Wellington region has had a 12 per cent increase in population and GDP has increased by 26 per cent. If we include emissions from the forestry sector, our emissions have remained stable over the 12 year period.

“In contrast, there is an increasing trend in national emissions. Although differences in methodology prevent a direct comparison, it is accepted that nationally, gross emissions (excluding forestry) increased by 5 per cent and net emissions (including forestry) by 30 per cent from 2000 to 2011.

“Whilst we can’t afford to relax, at this stage the regional inventory results indicate that the Wellington region is trending the right way. The efforts of everyone, including local government and the community, have been paying off.

“Our gross emissions increased from 2000/01 through to 2005/06 and since then, have trended downwards.

“Whilst this is good news, lower per capita emissions here compared to national levels are largely due to our having less industrial and agricultural activity in our region.

Our ambition should be to continue to lower emissions through increasing productivity in our knowledge-based economy and more use of clean technology, including in agriculture. ”

Ms Wilde says a number of other factors have helped drive the trend in the region including a greater proportion of renewable electricity in the national grid, decline in electricity consumption, relatively stable consumption of road transport fuels, new technology in landfills, water and wastewater treatment plants and a decline in animal numbers.

This project has been a positive, collaborative effort between local governments in the region. The inventory was developed by URS New Zealand Limited at the request of a consortium of councils comprising GWRC, Wellington, Porirua, Hutt and Upper Hutt city councils, and Kapiti Coast District Council. It creates an emissions baseline and assesses the contributions of emission sources.

The data measures greenhouse gas emissions from stationary energy (e.g. electricity and gas), transport (including domestic aviation), industrial processes and industrial product use (such as gases used in refrigerators and air conditioning systems), agriculture and waste. It also measures changes in the forestry sector.

The Wellington region inventory report is at www.gw.govt.nz/ghg


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