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New report shows household emissions increasing

Household emissions of greenhouse gases increased 19.3 percent from 2007 to 2017, mainly due to rising emissions from road transport, Stats NZ said today.

In 2017, households accounted for 11 percent of total emissions (up from 9 percent in 2007), with the remaining 89 percent accounted for by industry.

“New Zealand households are becoming less efficient at managing the emissions they produce, that is, household emissions are increasing at a faster rate than the overall rate of household formation,” senior manager collaborative development Michele Lloyd said.

Environmental-economic accounts: 2019 (data to 2017) shows New Zealand is one of a small number of developed nations to see household emissions increase over the 2008–15 period for which comparable data is available.

Emissions from road transport have also been increasing due to the increasing number of tourists and their use of vehicles. International tourism emissions, which are primarily from road transport, increased 20.0 percent since 2007, and accounted for 7.8 percent of total road transport emissions within New Zealand in 2017.

Industry emissions

Total emissions decreased just 0.9 percent over the 2007–17 period. In that time, industry emissions decreased 2.9 percent, but that was mostly offset by rising household emissions.

The decrease in industry emissions over 2007–17 was greatest for the electricity, gas, water, and waste service industry. This was partly due to increased use of renewable energy sources, particularly geothermal and wind, while its economic activity continued to grow over the period.


In 2017, the largest contributors to total industry emissions were sheep, beef, cattle, and grain farming; dairy cattle farming; electricity and gas supply; and rail, water, air, and other transport.

Agriculture emissions

Dairy cattle farming was the only agriculture industry to record an increase in emissions over 2007–17, up 27.7 percent (3,636 kilotonnes), which was the largest increase of all industries. Sheep, beef cattle, and grain farming emissions decreased 11.7 percent (2,969 kilotonnes) from 2007 to 2017, which was the second largest decrease. Poultry, deer, and other livestock farming emissions declined 43.6 percent (727 kilotonnes).

Overall, in the 2007–17 period, emissions from the agriculture industry decreased 0.1 percent a year on average (a total of 239 kilotonnes from 2007 to 2017), while its contribution to GDP (in real terms) grew at a rate of 1.8 percent a year.

Other industries with decreasing emissions include:
• electricity and gas supply – down 41.7 percent (3,359 kilotonnes)
• mining – down 24.6 percent (497 kilotonnes)
• water, sewerage, drainage, and waste services – down 20.9 percent (485 kilotonnes)
• non-metallic mineral product manufacturing – down 28.5 percent (456 kilotonnes)
• rail, water, air, and other transport – down 8.8 percent (437 kilotonnes).

Other industries with increasing emissions include:
• petroleum, chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing – up 63.1 percent (1,069 kilotonnes)
• food, beverage, and tobacco product manufacturing – up 44.8 percent (984 kilotonnes)
• road transport – up 16.5 percent (548 kilotonnes)
• services excluding transport, postal, and warehousing – up 36.0 percent (460 kilotonnes)
• construction – up 65.9 percent (272 kilotonnes)
• forestry and logging – up 54.1 percent (203 kilotonnes).

Emissions and economic activity

Industries showing a reduction in emissions relative to their contribution to gross domestic product (GDP, in real terms) included the transport, postal, and warehousing industry (emissions up 0.1 percent a year, but contribution to GDP grew 3.0 percent a year) and mining (where emissions fell 2.8 percent a year but contribution to GDP fell 0.8 percent a year).

However, emissions increased at a faster rate than the contribution to GDP (in real terms) for services excluding transport, postal, and warehousing (emissions up 3.1 percent a year, but contribution to GDP up 2.4 percent a year). Manufacturing emissions increased 1.2 percent a year while its contribution to GDP decreased 0.1 percent a year, although some sub-industries recorded decreases in emissions.

“While our overall emissions intensity has been trending down, the amount of emissions we produce for each million dollars of GDP is in the top third of developed nations, due to the significant amount of methane emitted by agriculture,” Ms Lloyd said.

“However, when looking at just carbon dioxide, New Zealand is in the bottom third of these countries."

The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) is an internationally accepted statistical standard that specifies how environmental and economic information can be integrated coherently.

“The SEEA framework gets us talking about the economy and the environment in the same language – and the result is a more complete picture of New Zealand’s economic and environmental performance,” Ms Lloyd said.

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