GHG drop in NZ energy sector offset by forest harvesting

Published 00:39 on April 10, 2015  /  Last updated at 00:39 on April 10, 2015  /  Asia Pacific, New Zealand  /  No Comments

New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions fell 1.4% in 2013, but the drop was largely offset by a loss in net carbon removals from forests, government data showed Friday.

New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions fell 1.4% in 2013, but the drop was largely offset by a loss in net carbon removals from forests, government data showed Friday.

New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions – discounting the LULUCF sector – fell 1.1 million tonnes of CO2e to 81 million tonnes in 2013, data released by the Ministry for Environment showed.

But net emissions remained largely unchanged at 54.2 million tonnes because an increase in forest harvesting led to a 1-million tonne drop in forest carbon removals.

“We’re well on track to meet our 2020 target, and like other countries, we are considering our national target to reduce emissions after 2020,” Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said in a statement.

New Zealand’s target is to cut emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2020, but the country uses gross emissions for the base year and net emissions in the target year, meaning it will meet its target even with a huge increase in actual emissions.

Gross GHG emissions have increased 21.3% since 1990 and net emissions have skyrocketed to 42.4% above 1990 levels.

The drop in gross emissions in 2013 – the first fall since 2009 – was mostly due to an increase in hydro power generation as reservoirs filled up after a drought the previous year.

The drought in late 2012 and early 2013 also hit agricultural production, leading to reduced carbon output from New Zealand’s biggest-emitting sector, the ministry said.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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