Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


May/June issue: NZ Emmission Profile Infographic


Click for bigger version.

FULL SIZE version [pdf]

Hot Air

The first complete picture of New Zealand’s emissions, from source to sky.

Drawing on new data from the Ministry for the Environment's Greenhouse Gas Inventory published in April, New Zealand Geographic magazine has produced the first comprehensive infographic illustrating New Zealand's emissions, from fuel source to greenhouse gases emitted.

Greenhouse gases are emitted when fossil fuels are combusted or as the result of natural processes such as decomposition and digestion. Every country has a different emissions profile, depending on the mix of industries, energy supply, transport infrastructure and land use. And changes to any of these factors year to year change how much greenhouse gas is produced or absorbed.

Over 2012, New Zealand’s net greenhouse-gas emissions rose by 26.1 million tonnes, a 111.4 per cent increase on the levels in 1990 when New Zealand became a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, which sets standards for carbon accounting. Under it, changes such as planting forests—which absorb carbon dioxide—can offset practices which emit carbon dioxide, such as driving a car.

Aotearoa has an emissions profile unlike any other nation, in that just under half of our gases come from farm stock and practices (the global average is just 12 per cent). During 2012, agriculture emitted 35 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, or 46 per cent of total emissions. Most of those were methane, belched into the atmosphere by sheep and cattle as a waste product of digestion. But farming’s impact is greater than the numbers suggest: methane traps 21 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a century. The rest was largely nitrous oxide, 310 times more potent and the bane of ozone to boot. Methane and nitrous oxide together make up 52.5 per cent of New Zealand emissions, against a global average of around 20 per cent.

However, drawing a large proportion of power from renewable hydro generators means that the carbon footprint for New Zealand’s energy sector is less than many other countries’ footprints, at least in some years—a dry year in 2012 forced hydro generators to resort to thermal backup, driving energy emissions up by 900,000 tonnes.

Forestry planting and harvesting can make or break the national greenhouse-gas budget. Trees remove and store carbon from the atmosphere until they’re felled, after which they release it again to become a net liability.

New Zealanders emit around 0.15 per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gases, but that’s enough to make us the fifth-highest-polluting nation per capita among Kyoto’s 40 Annex 1 countries. In 2011, each New Zealander, on average, emitted 16.6 tonnes (CO2-e) into the atmosphere—a figure that can be reduced only by limiting emissions or absorbing more carbon dioxide, emissions that must be curbed in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

The May/June issue of New Zealand Geographic highlights new science that indicates previous climate change projections may have woefully under-estimated the effects of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. With the rapid increase in greenhouse gases, and the resulting warming, the ice sheet could be near total collapse, raising sea levels by more than two metres, on top of the one metre already predicted.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Half Empty: Fonterra's 2017 Opening Forecast Below Expectations

Fonterra Cooperative Group raised its forecast farmgate milk payout for next season by less than expected as the world's largest dairy exporter predicts lower prices will crimp production and supply will pick up. The New Zealand dollar fell. More>>

ALSO:

Pest Control: Mouse Blitz Team Leaves For Antipodes

The Million Dollar Mouse project to rid Antipodes Island of mice is underway with the departure of a rodent eradication team to the remote nature reserve and World Heritage Area. More>>

Gongs Got: Canon Media Awards & NZ Radio Awards Happen

Radio NZ: RNZ website The Wireless, which is co-funded by NZ On Air, was named best website, while Toby Manhire and Toby Morris won the best opinion general writing section for their weekly column on rnz.co.nz and Tess McClure won the best junior feature writer section. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Budget: Debt Focus Risks Losing Opportunity To Stoke Economy

The Treasury is likely to upgrade its forecasts for economic growth in Budget 2016 next week but Finance Minister Bill English has already signalled that more of his focus is on debt repayment than on fiscal stimulus or tax cuts... More>>

ALSO:

Fulton Hogan's Heroes: Managing Director Nick Miller Resigns

Fulton Hogan managing director Nick Miller will leave the privately owned construction company after seven years in charge. The Dunedin-based company has kicked off a search for a replacement, and Miller will stay on at the helm until March next year, or until a successor has been appointed and a transition period completed. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Electricity, Executions, And Bob Dylan

The Electricity Authority has unveiled the final version of its pricing plan for electricity transmission. This will change the way transmission prices (which comprise about 10% of the average power bill) are computed, and will add hundreds of dollars a year to power bills for many ordinary consumers. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Fonterra NZ, Australia Milk Collection Drops In Season

Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in New Zealand and Australia, its two largest markets, in the first 11 months of the season during a period of weak dairy prices. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news