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Inventory Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reveals Carbon Footprints Of Waikato Districts

For the first time, the Waikato’s three-yearly survey of greenhouse gas emissions has a breakdown for each territorial boundary.

The inventory, released to the Waikato Mayoral Forum today, shows the region has a wide emissions profile and identifies where best we can focus on transitioning to a low emissions economy – and create more jobs – by planting more trees, working towards a lower carbon footprint in the agricultural industry and accelerating alternative modes of transport.

Waikato Regional Council’s climate action committee chair Jennifer Nickel says the inventory paints an interesting picture of what is going on and where, and it means that approaches to curb and adapt to climate change will be varied across the region.

The 2018-19 survey measures stationary energy (e.g. electricity, gas, fuels), transportation (on-road fuels), waste, industry and agriculture emissions, along with forestry sequestration.

It shows that overall emissions from stationary energy and transportation have increased due to increases in population, emissions from agriculture have decreased due to an overall smaller herd size, and carbon removal rates by forestry have decreased due to rates of replanting not keeping up with the pace of harvesting.

It also shows that districts with high forestry are carbon neutral (Taupō and Thames Coromandel), and that districts with high agricultural activities have the highest carbon footprint.

Cr Nickel says the next step is to use the information from the inventory to develop a climate action roadmap to support Waikato Regional Council and the territorial authorities to become leaders in carbon and water management.

“The decision to measure the carbon footprint of each of the territorial authorities was a unanimous one among the councils, and it will enable us all to work together to focus attention on the areas where the best reductions can be made.

“The data gives support for the development of our individual strategies but helps us all head in the same direction, together. Together, we can work together to achieve as a region.”

Some interesting facts and figures:

  • Activities within Waikato region’s boundaries generated approximately 12,646,982 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2e) between July 2018 and June 2019. When forestry is included, the total net emissions for the region are 7,116,073t CO2e.
  • Agriculture remains the largest contributor to the total gross emissions for Waikato (69 per cent), followed by transportation (15 per cent) and stationary energy (13 per cent).
  • Forestry removed a net volume of 5,530,909t CO2e or about 44 per cent of the total gross emissions.
  • Since the 2015-16 report, total net emissions (including forestry) have increased 349,291t CO2e (5.2 per cent) to 7,116,073t CO2e, and total gross emissions (excluding forestry) have increased 247,439t CO2e (0.02 per cent) to 12,646,982t CO2e.
  • Agriculture is the only sector to see a drop in gross emissions (-4.2 per cent).
  • Transportation emissions is up 32.3 per cent and stationary energy emissions have increased 8.4 per cent due to population growth.
  • Carbon removal rates by forestry have decreased by 101,852t CO2e (-1.8 per cent).
  • The net emissions per capita vary widely between the districts from -34.4 tonnes of CO2 (carbon positive) for Taupō district to 82.8 for Ōtorohanga district.
  • Thames-Coromandel district was also carbon positive due to high levels of sequestration from forestry.
  • Hamilton has the lowest gross emissions (excluding forestry) per capita at 6t CO2e.
  • Waitomo has the highest gross emissions (excluding forestry) per capita at 109t CO2e.
  • Waikato district is the highest emitter of agricultural emissions (1,721,291t CO2e), followed by Waipa (1,148,353) and Matamata-Piako (1,475,468).
  • On a per capita basis, Waikato’s gross (excluding forestry) emissions are significantly higher than the national (26.7 v 16.5t CO2e); agriculture emissions are high (18.2 v 7.9t CO2e) while forestry sector removes more than double the national average (-11.7 v -4.9t CO2e).
  • Stationary energy, waste and IPPU emissions are below the national averages.

Read the Waikato Region Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory – July 2018 to June 2019: waikatoregion.govt.nz/greenhousegasinventory

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