Greenhouse Gas Report Released

  • Max Bradford

Growth in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and industrial sources this decade is likely to be significantly less under current Government energy policies than under a "business as usual" scenario, Energy Minister Max Bradford said today.

Gross carbon dioxide emissions increased by 11.2 per cent between 1990 and 1996, according to the Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990 - 1996 report released by the Minister today.

"While GDP growth was 14.9 per cent between 1990 and 1996, the increase in gross carbon dioxide emissions - at 11.2 per cent - was considerably smaller," Mr Bradford said.

The Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions report shows gross carbon dioxide emissions were 25.5 million tonnes in 1990 and 28.3 million tonnes in 1996.

The report contains detailed information and comparisons on greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. It is part of the Government's reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"New Zealand is making progress in reducing energy needs as the country and economy grow. Between 1991 and 1996 New Zealand's energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 5 per cent," Mr Bradford said.

"The energy sector reforms have made a major contribution to this outcome. One of the main aims of the reforms was to encourage energy efficiency through a competitive market in which consumers paid the true cost of their energy.

"In a free market, consumers put their dollars where they believe the best value lies. Our aim should be to make energy-wise practices and technologies the solutions of choice. Energy efficiency is good business."

Through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, the Government also funds a number of programmes to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Government also has voluntary agreements with industry for limiting greenhouse gas emissions, with all major CO2 emitters signed up.

The latest Ministry of Commerce projections indicate that under current Government energy policies, the growth in gross CO2 emissions between 1990 and 2000 will be 22 per cent - significantly lower than the 28 per cent projected under the 1993 "business as usual" scenario for the same GDP growth rates.

"The Ministry's projections indicate the Government is on track with its policies for reducing the rate of growth in gross CO2 emissions to 20 per cent below a "business as usual" scenario," Mr Bradford said.

On an all greenhouse gas basis, emissions in the year 2000 are projected to be only 2 per cent higher than 1990.