Seasonally adjusted greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased 1.1 percent (205 kilotonnes) in the December 2021 quarter from the September 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today.
However, this is still the lowest level December quarter in the time series due to continued pandemic-related restrictions throughout most of the quarter, particularly in Auckland, and a reduction in coal use for electricity generation.
By comparison, in the same time period gross domestic product (GDP) increased 3.0 percent.
The largest increases in emissions came from manufacturing, up 176 kilotonnes (7.6 percent); agriculture, forestry, and fishing, up 41 kilotonnes (0.4 percent); and construction, up 41 kilotonnes (11 percent).
Emissions from electricity, gas, water, and waste services had the largest decrease of 29 percent (570 kilotonnes). This was driven by an increase in the proportion of our electricity generated from renewable sources (such as hydro and wind), and the subsequent decrease in the use of coal in the December 2021 quarter (as reported in the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment’s New Zealand Energy Quarterly).
Total household emissions increased by 1.6 percent (31 kilotonnes, seasonally adjusted) in the December 2021 quarter, mostly due to an increase in household transport emissions, up 2.1 percent (35 kilotonnes). The increase in household transport emissions reflects the gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions during the final quarter of 2021.
Throughout 2021 the New Zealand economy, and therefore the country’s emissions, continued to be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. See History of the COVID-19 alert system for a timeline of COVID-19 events.
In 2021, New Zealand’s annual industrial and household greenhouse gas emissions were 79,300 kilotonnes (actual series), down 6.1 percent when compared with the 2019 (pre-COVID) year total of 84,430 kilotonnes.
Since COVID-19 restrictions were first introduced in March 2020, emissions from industry decreased while GDP grew. Between 2019 and 2021, total industry emissions were down 5.7 percent (4,277 kilotonnes), compared with a 3.4 percent increase in GDP during the same period (year ended December 2019 to year ended December 2021).
Between 2019 and 2021, emissions from transport, postal, and warehousing (which includes international aviation) had the largest decrease in emissions, down 2,558 kilotonnes (36 percent) – that industry’s GDP was also down, by 10 percent. Manufacturing emissions had the second largest decrease, down 1,586 kilotonnes (14 percent) and its GDP increased by 0.2 percent over the same period. Mining showed the third biggest decrease during this time, down 184 kilotonnes (13 percent), with a decrease in GDP of 16 percent.
Over the same period, emissions from agriculture, forestry, and fishing recorded a 0.4 percent decrease (177 kilotonnes), while its GDP rose 3.8 percent. Emissions from the services excluding transport, postal, and warehousing industry decreased 2.7 percent (74 kilotonnes) while its GDP increased 5.4 percent.
Total household emissions decreased 9.6 percent (853 kilotonnes) between 2019 and 2021, primarily due to an 11 percent (835 kilotonnes) reduction in household transport emissions.