Thursday, April 12, 2018

Climate Change: The latest inventory

The annual inventory report [PDF] of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions has been released, showing a welcome small decrease in pollution in 2016:

2016 was a good hydro year, so less coal and gas were burned. There were also fewer sheep. But its not all good news. The drop from last year was about 2.4%, but this was offset by a rise in forestry emissions as trees planted in the early 1990's were harvested. And that's going to become a bigger effect over the next decade: the cushion of forests we used to soak up carbon and reduce our net emissions are going to be cut down, meaning we will have nowhere to hide from our long-term failure to reduce gross emissions. Hence why the government is so keen to plant a billion trees: to buy us some time. The good news is that they seem to be willing to make the tough decisions required to decarbonise the economy and set us on a greener path. Hopefully that work won't be undone by a future National government desperate to curry favour with the provinces at the expense of drowning our cities.