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ORC Receives First Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) received its first Otago Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory at a meeting of the Data and Information Committee today. The inventory provides an overview of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Otago between July 2018 and June 2019.

A GHG inventory or profile is a collection of emission data that is organised in a particular way for a certain time and area.

Manager Strategy Anne Duncan said the inventory was prepared in collaboration with Otago’s five city and district councils.

“Undertaking this kind of inventory enables us to estimate – sector by sector – where our biggest emitters are in each district. The desktop study used a global protocol for accounting and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, incorporating data held by the Dunedin City, Central Otago, Clutha, Waitaki, and Queenstown Lakes councils, among other sector sources.

“This inventory is an important first step towards reducing emissions in Otago, as it will help us understand our footprint, mitigation options and scenarios, and it will inform discussions and engagement with our communities.”

The inventory estimated that the agriculture industry, particularly sheep and beef activities, is the primary source of emissions in Otago across four of the five districts. Transport was the biggest emissions source in the Queenstown Lakes district and a significant source in Dunedin. Electricity usage makes up a significant proportion of stationary energy emissions across all districts.

The Committee referred the report to the Otago Mayoral Forum to strengthen ongoing collaboration between ORC and the five territorial councils, Dr Duncan said.

“The Greenhouse Gas inventory, together with the Otago Climate Change Risk Assessment completed by ORC in March, provide a good basis to develop a regional partnership approach to the current and future challenges of climate change.”

ORC proposes to undertake an inventory of Otago GHG emissions every two years.

The GHG inventory is one part of ORC’s wider climate change work programme, which includes the Otago Climate Change Risk Assessment and an inventory of ORC’s own emissions completed in November 2020. The Risk Assessment is also recommended to be repeated every six years, in alignment with the National Climate Change Risk Assessment.

It is important to note that it is not possible to compare inventories at different levels (e.g. the Otago section of the national inventory compared to this regional inventory) because each use different data sets and calculation methods.

“We discussed our results with Stats NZ and it was agreed that the differences related to the different data and methods,” Dr Duncan said.

Key figures:

Total gross emissions for Otago in 2018/19 5,821,025 tCO2e*

Total sequestration from Land Use, Land Change and Forestry 2,640,398 tCO2e

Net emissions for Otago in 2018/19 3,180,627 tCO2e

* tCO2e stands for ‘Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent’, the standard unit for greenhouse gas emissions.

The report can be viewed in the Data and Information Committee agenda, starting on page 16: https://www.orc.govt.nz/media/9951/agenda-daic-20210609.pdf


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