Thursday, April 18, 2024

Climate Change: Turning the tide

The annual inventory report of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions has been released, showing that gross emissions have dropped for the third year in a row, to 78.4 million tons:


All-told gross emissions have decreased by over 6 million tons since the Zero Carbon Act was passed in 2019. Which shows the difference policy makes. Comparing it to the carbon budget is difficult because of the non-transparent "target accounting" used for forests, and because the only by-gas table He Pou a Rangi Climate Commission included in its 2021 carbon budget advice used AR4 rather than AR5 accounting. Still, we can draw some conclusions: the budget allowed 34 MT per year of CO2, and 8 MT-equivalent (AR4) of nitrous oxide, which turns into 7.11 MT using AR5. The equivalent (AR5) numbers from emissions tracker are 31.61 and 6.88 MT respectively - so we're 2.6 MT ahead of our budget. Unfortunately we're doing far worse on methane - 1.37 vs a budgeted 1.25 million (actual) tons. So as usual, the story is that farmers aren't pulling their weight. It is long past time we fixed that, and made them carry a fair share of the burden.