New Zealand’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is pretty big when compared with other developed countries. “How come?” You may ask “We are using mainly renewable electricity!” Well, the GHG per capita is usually calculated by taking total emissions as reported under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and dividing by population.
Hence it is focused on New Zealand whole production and therefore includes emissions from exported goods (i.e. emissions from farms are included even though we are mainly exporting meat and dairy products). Does the figure change if we are focusing on the greenhouse gas emissions of our Consumption?
The following results are sourced from a study undertaken by MOTU in 2014 and show the emissions broken down by consumption group such as food or energy for an average kiwi household.
It can be noticed that Food represents 32% of kiwi household greenhouse gas annual emissions, followed by Transport (personal car, public transport, air travels…) and House utilities (e.g. electricity and gas) that account respectively for 27% and 24% of household GHG annual emissions.
The way we are consuming goods has a large impact on our environment as our yearly consumption is responsible of almost 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) per year per person. For comparison, when calculated nationally on a Production basis, New Zealand’s per capita emissions reached 17.6 tonne of CO2eq and 13.4 tonnes of CO2eq if the carbon removed from forestry is included.
Whatever policy and “reduction route” is taken at a global and national level, it seems obvious that a change in our consumption is a key to drive significantly climate change mitigation. Colibri is a first step of a 1000 miles journey, let’s walk with us.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions in New Zealand: A Preliminary Consumption-Based Analysis, MOTU, 2014
- Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions of OECD countries since 1990, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stats, 2014
- UNFCCC National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory guidelines, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2016