The government has published its official calculations of the nation’s GHG emissions over the 2007-2018 window. And the verdict is …
As a nation, we basically treaded water, lowering our nation-wide emissions by a mere 1.2%.
Hawke’s Bay, which at 3.1 kilotonnes of CO2e accounts for only 4% of NZ’s total GHG emissions (78.2 kilotonnes CO2e), did better, reducing our emissions by 7.1%.
Overall, nothing much for ‘mean, green’ NZ to brag about.
For New Zealand — and Hawke’s Bay — the ‘villain’ is pictured above, the chief source of our emissions, especially the particularly troublesome short-lived, but highly potent methane.
In Hawke’s Bay, agriculture accounted for 65.5% of our GHG emissions, while methane accounted for 61.9% of our total emissions.
Table 12 of this report from StatsNZ provides the details.
So, our challenge is ruminant animals, and much work is underway in NZ to ‘put a lid’ (so to speak) on animal belching and farting — different genetics and different feeds (e.g. seaweed) have the folks in lab coats excited.
Foregoing beef altogether has another group even more excited.
And then there’s regenerative farming — gaining more and more momentum — that posits if we treat our soils properly we can significantly increase their carbon content (i.e. carbon sequestering capacity). And if we do that at achievable scale, we can easily let our cows belch and fart to their hearts’ content!
Before we blame it all on the cows, I should note that household emissions in HB rose 9.4% over this period. That’s you and me folks.