New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions

  • Image, NZ greenhouse gas emissions.

    Archived 19 October 2017

    Our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are small compared with those of other developed nations, but we have committed to being part of the global response to climate change. New Zealand's greenhouse gas inventory is an annual report on all of the country’s human-induced GHG emissions and removals of GHG emissions. The inventory is produced as part of our obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.

    We classified New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions as supporting information.

    Key findings

    New Zealand’s net GHG emissions have increased since 1990 but are lower than their peak in 2006. 

    • In 2013, our net emissions were 42.4 percent higher than in 1990 (54.2 Mt CO2-e compared with 38.0 Mt CO2-e) (megatonnes equivalent carbon dioxide).
    • In 2013, the land use, land-use change, and forestry sector (LULUCF) reduced emissions by 26.8 Mt CO2-e.
    • Total GHG emissions in 2013 (excluding removals) were 81.0 Mt CO2-e. This is a 21.3 percent increase on the 1990 levels of 66.7 Mt CO2-e.
    • Agriculture, with 48 percent, was the largest-contributing sector to total GHG emissions, followed by the energy sector, with 39 percent.

    Definition and methodology

    The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for producing and submitting New Zealand's greenhouse gas inventory by 15 April each year as part of its commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Data are sourced from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Ministry for Primary Industries; and Environmental Protection Authority. Many values in the inventory are derived from data collated by Statistics New Zealand.

    The inventory reports GHG emissions and removals from five sectors:

    • agriculture
    • energy (eg emissions from transport and electricity generation)
    • industrial processes and product use (eg cement production and refrigeration)
    • land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF)
    • waste.

    As required by the UNFCCC, the inventory reports emissions and removals from the entire LULUCF sector. However, under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand is required to report total emissions  plus emissions and removals from post-1989 activities under article 3.3 and 3.4 (afforestation, reforestation, deforestation, and forest management) (Ministry for the Environment 2015).

    The inventory published in April 2015 covered the following greenhouse gases:

    • carbon dioxide (CO2)
    • methane (CH4)
    • nitrous oxide (N2O)
    • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
    • perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
    • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

    All developed countries use the same international guidelines for their reports. Emissions in the 2015 inventory were the first to be calculated using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2006 reporting guidelines, along with new UNFCCC reporting guidelines.

    Data quality

    We classified New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions as supporting information.


     This supporting information is a partial measure of the ‘Global emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances’ topic.


     The accuracy of the data source is of high quality.

    See Data quality information for more detail.


    Ministry for the Environment (2015). New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory. Available from


    Published 21 October 2015

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