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Greenhouse gas emissions update released

Friday, 23 June 2000 Media Statement

Greenhouse gas emissions update released

The latest information on New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector shows the importance of improving the country's energy efficiency, Minister of Energy Pete Hodgson said today.

Mr Hodgson released a Ministry of Economic Development report on New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions that updates energy and industrial process sector emissions to 31 December 1999.

The report shows that New Zealand's gross carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the energy and industrial process sectors increased by 19.2% between 1990 and 1999. This compares with 14% growth from 1990-1998. Average annual growth over 1990-1999 is 2.0%.

"Over 90 percent of these emissions came from the energy sector, including transport and electricity generation," Mr Hodgson said. "Our energy efficiency in this country is poor and improving it must be the first step in containing the growth in emissions.

"That said, clearly New Zealand must also take further action to reduce emissions if it is to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment. Developing an action plan for that is the job of the ministerial committee on climate change that I chair."

Around half of energy CO2 emissions is from liquid fuels use, over a third from natural gas use and 11% from coal use. Electricity generation saw a large increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 1999 compared to 1998 (up 34%) due to reduced hydro generation because of relatively low lake levels. This resulted in greater use of thermal generation, mainly gas (up 33%) and coal (up 47%).

Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas worldwide, but the report also covers other energy sector greenhouse gas emissions including methane and nitrous oxide. Methane, mostly from the agriculture sector, accounts for about half of New Zealand's emissions when they are assessed for their global warming potential.

New Zealand's methane emissions have been trending down. The report updates methane emissions to December 31, 1998 (a year behind the energy sector data) and shows they have decreased by 5% since 1990.

For further information and copies of the report, "New Zealand Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990-1999", contact:


Dr Ram SriRamaratnam, Ministry of Economic Development
Telephone (04) 474 2180, facsimile (04) 473 9930, email ram.sriramaratnam@med.govt.nz

Internet homepage address: http://www.med.govt.nz/ran/emisg/emsu/

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