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Emissions down and NZ on target to meet Kyoto

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for Climate Change Issues
15 April 2011 Media Statement
Emissions down and NZ on target to meet Kyoto

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith today welcomed reports on New Zealand's Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2009 and the projected net position for 2008-2012 that show the Emissions Trading Scheme is working and that New Zealand is on track to meet its Kyoto commitments.

"These are the most encouraging reports on climate change in a decade in that they show a reduction in emissions and New Zealand comfortably meeting its Kyoto commitments. We still have a huge job ahead in meeting our long-term emission reduction target of a 50% reduction by 2050,” Dr Smith said.

The Greenhouse Gas Inventory Position Report shows New Zealand's total emissions in 2009 reduced to 70.6 million tonnes – down 3% from 2008. The net emissions under Kyoto rules for 2009 were 53.4 million tonnes – down 4% from 2008. This is the second consecutive year of reductions in both gross and net emissions after a long trend of increases since 1990.

The Projected Net Position Report estimates that New Zealand will have a surplus of 21.9 million tonnes for the Kyoto Period of 2008-2012, an improvement from 11.4 million tonnes estimated in 2010. This surplus has an estimated value of $444 million for New Zealand. This is not money that goes to the Government as $1.2 billion of carbon units are allocated to post-1989 forest owners. It is good news for the Budget in that Government liabilities from the Emissions Trading Scheme are reduced by $238 million.

"These reports show the ETS working effectively in the forestry sector with deforestation ending when the scheme took effect in 2008. New plantings of 1900 hectares were achieved in 2008, 4000 hectares in 2009, 6000 hectares in 2010, with projections of 8000 in 2011 and 10,000 in 2012,” Dr Smith said.

"It is too early to confirm the effect of the ETS on emissions in the energy and industrial sectors as it only took effect on 1 July 2010. I am encouraged by the switch we have seen from investment in thermal generation to renewables and am confident this will reduce emissions in future reports.

"Caution is needed in interpreting the net position report for the period 2008-2012 because it involves projections into the future. This uncertainty reduces with time as we get final data for years past but a climatic event like a drought this year or next could significantly change the position. Refinements in calculating methodologies are also continuing to affect estimates.

"The recession and lower projected economic growth accounts for about a quarter of the improvement. Other significant factors that have improved the data is greater supplies of renewable energy, improved data on agricultural emissions and more accurate information on forested areas.

“The future challenge is to increase economic growth while continuing this positive reduction in emissions. It is encouraging that in the first two years of the ETS, the emissions efficiency of the economy is being improved.

“The ETS, Global Research Alliance on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, $347 million Warm Up New Zealand initiative, and the $1 billion investment in Auckland Rail Electrification are all part of our Bluegreen programme to make the economy more emissions efficient. The Green Growth Advisory Group is about furthering this work and assisting New Zealand shift to a less carbon intensive economy.”



The Greenhouse Gas Inventory Position Report for 2009 and Projected Net Position Report are available at:

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