Former HBRC Climate Ambassador Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau

First the good news for NZ. Our gross greenhouse gas emissions fell by 4% in 2022, says the latest release of the NZ Greenhouse Gas Inventory (1990-2022) just released by the Ministry for the Environment.

This is the third successive decrease year-on-year. NZ’s gross emissions for 2022 were 78.4 Mt CO2-e, down 3.4 million tonnes from 2021.

The biggest driver of the decrease was the weather. Wet conditions in 2022 supported hydroelectricty generation, which accounted for 60% of all power generation that year.

As here in Hawke’s Bay, agriculture is the nation’s largest GHG source, at 53% of total NZ emissions. These did decrease, with MfE citing lower numbers of livestock and less synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use. 

For the serious student, here is the full report. And for the rest of us, a snappy snapshot, from which this graphic was lifted.

As for the bad news, the Government announced it will establish a new advisory group charged with reviewing NZ’s methane emissions and targets for reduction and devising recommendations. No details provided.

Methane (from animals) accounts for 49% of NZ’s gross emissions.

Said Climate Minister Simon Watts, “The panel will consist of reputable experts to provide integrity and trust in the process. They will review the latest science on methane’s warming impact and will provide that advice to the Government.”

Of course taxpayers already have a reputable independent body that already reviews the latest science, assesses our emissions and makes recommendations to reduce them – the NZ Climate Change Commission! Unfortunately for the Coalition Government, the Commission advocates a tougher approach than the Government’s farming constituency wants, hence a new source of ‘reputable’ and ‘independent’ advice on NZ’s 2050 methane target is required.

Get ready for the dual of the independent reputable experts!

Finally, a bit of bad news closer to home.

HBRC’s Climate Ambassador, Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau has left this post, moving off to France with her family for a new chapter. 

Although BayBuzz has been critical of the pace of climate action in the Bay, and particularly the lumbering Climate Joint Action Committee, this cannot be laid on Pippa’s doorstep. Councillors are councillors and staff are staff. She has been a passionate and extremely well-informed educator and advocate on these issues and has laid important groundwork. Sorry to see her leave.

And looking forward to a strong replacement to help drive the region’s climate programme as the need gets ever more ominous.

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