NZ emissions increase

New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.8% to 77.2m tonnes CO2e in 2005, mainly due to an increase in the proportion of thermal power generation in a dry year for hydro, according to the Ministry For The Environment. Details here, and NZ Herald story here.

The Herald points out the obvious:

In 2005 emissions were 24.7 per cent above the levels of 1990, and Treasury has estimated that at the end of February New Zealand’s liability under Kyoto was $567 million. The National Party claims the figure is actually closer to $1.8 billion.

The figures don’t (yet) include any information on how our carbon sinks performed, or any projection for the 2008-2012 Kyoto commitment period, when we either meet our target (100 percent of 1990 emissions) or buy credits. The government estimated in 2005 that we’ll overshoot our target by 36.2m tonnes over the five years. With the current EU trading price at about $37 per tonne, the cost of covering those emissions would be $1.34bn. Not quite what National (and the Greens, to be fair) were suggesting, but still a lot more than the government is admitting to.

4 thoughts on “NZ emissions increase”

  1. Hi Gareth, Does my maths sound about right to you?

    If 10% of NZ was planted in trees and those trees absorbed 10,000 Kg/Ha/yr carbon, that would be 25 million tonnes carbon or 92 millions tonnes CO2/yr.

  2. My understanding is that a 15 year old radiata stand is reckoned to contain 112t C, so the average C absorption would be about 7500kg/ha/yr. You’re in the ballpark, but on the high side. If you need anything more specific, I can ask a forester who knows more…

    You can supply your own numbers for area 😉

  3. Ok, so given that sheep pasture sequesters little carbon, and that building houses is one way to sequester carbon that can actually make money, perhaps increasing absorption could be a little easier for NZ than reducing emissions, though both together is better still.

  4. Both together, definitely – if only because public policy needs to be even-handed. If foresters get a big carbon credit, or dairy farmers get an emissions “holiday”, it amounts to taxpayer handouts for those sectors. That might be defensible on pure carbon reduction grounds, but there are considerable issues of fairness etc…

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