Sheep and beef GHG emissions dropped by 11.7 percent from 2007-2017

Beef cattle

Sheep, beef cattle and grain farming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions dropped by 11.7 percent from 2007 to 2017, yet household GHG emissions increased 19.3 percent over the same period, mainly due to rising emissions from road transport, Stats NZ said today.

In 2017, households accounted for 11 percent of total emissions (up from nine percent in 2007), with the remaining 89 percent accounted for by industry.

“New Zealand households are becoming less efficient at managing the emissions they produce, that is, household emissions are increasing at a faster rate than the overall rate of household formation,” senior manager collaborative development Michele Lloyd said.

Environmental-economic accounts: 2019 (data to 2017) shows New Zealand is one of a small number of developed nations to see household emissions increase over the 2008–15 period for which comparable data is available. [Editor: The nation has also seen a population increase of 15.6 percent over the same period.]

Emissions from road transport have also been increasing due to the increasing number of tourists and their use of vehicles. International tourism emissions, which are primarily from road transport, increased 20.0 percent since 2007, and accounted for 7.8 percent of total road transport emissions within New Zealand in 2017.

Industry emissions

Total emissions decreased just 0.9 percent over the 2007–17 period. In that time, industry emissions decreased 2.9 percent, but that was mostly offset by rising household emissions.

The decrease in industry emissions over 2007–17 was greatest for the electricity, gas, water, and waste service industry. This was partly due to increased use of renewable energy sources, particularly geothermal and wind, while its economic activity continued to grow over the period.

In 2017, the largest contributors to total industry emissions were sheep, beef, cattle, and grain farming; dairy cattle farming; electricity and gas supply; and rail, water, air, and other transport.

Agriculture emissions

Dairy cattle farming was the only agriculture industry to record an increase in emissions over 2007–17, up 27.7 percent (3,636 kilotonnes), which was the largest increase of all industries. Sheep, beef cattle, and grain farming emissions decreased 11.7 percent (2,969 kilotonnes) from 2007 to 2017, which was the second largest decrease. Poultry, deer, and other livestock farming emissions declined 43.6 percent (727 kilotonnes).

Overall, in the 2007–17 period, emissions from the agriculture industry decreased 0.1 percent a year on average (a total of 239 kilotonnes from 2007 to 2017), while its contribution to GDP (in real terms) grew at a rate of 1.8 percent a year.

Other industries with decreasing emissions include:

  • electricity and gas supply – down 41.7 percent (3,359 kilotonnes)
  • mining – down 24.6 percent (497 kilotonnes)
  • water, sewerage, drainage, and waste services – down 20.9 percent (485 kilotonnes)
  • non-metallic mineral product manufacturing – down 28.5 percent (456 kilotonnes)
  • rail, water, air, and other transport – down 8.8 percent (437 kilotonnes).

Other industries with increasing emissions include:

  • petroleum, chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing – up 63.1 percent (1,069 kilotonnes)
  • food, beverage, and tobacco product manufacturing – up 44.8 percent (984 kilotonnes)
  • road transport – up 16.5 percent (548 kilotonnes)
  • services excluding transport, postal, and warehousing – up 36.0 percent (460 kilotonnes)
  • construction – up 65.9 percent (272 kilotonnes)
  • forestry and logging – up 54.1 percent (203 kilotonnes).

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