Auckland's greenhouse gas inventory to 2016

Shanju Xie
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:

Auckland’s current targets are to achieve 10 to 20 per cent reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020, 40 per cent by 2040 and 50 per cent by 2050 (based on 1990 levels). The council is in the process of reviewing Low Carbon Auckland and developing an integrated climate action plan for Auckland, addressing both mitigation and adaptation. This requires a robust evidence base to inform development of the integrated plan. An emissions inventory identifies and quantifies sources and sinks of GHGs and trends. This provides an essential tool to evaluate our progress, frame mitigation actions and support target setting.

In 2016, Auckland gross emissions were 11,326 kilo-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (kt CO2e) and when carbon sequestration from forestry was included, net emissions were 10,128 kt CO2e. Transport and stationary energy are dominant sectors, accounting for 43.6 per cent and 26.6 per cent of gross emissions, respectively. Carbon dioxide (CO2) contributed 83.1 per cent, methane (CH4) 10.5 per cent, nitrous oxide (N2O) 1.7 per cent and other GHGs 4.7 per cent.

Gross and net emissions in 2016 have dropped from the 2015 levels, driven by decreased emissions from energy, and industrial processes and product use (IPPU) sectors. There was also additional carbon sequestration from forestry. There was a gradual increase in gross emissions from 2009 to 2016 due to increased emissions from transport, waste, IPPU and agriculture sources. Increased carbon sequestration from forestry resulted in lower net emissions in 2016 than in 2009.

With respect to current levels, Auckland needs to reduce its net emissions by 24.7 per cent to 33.0 per cent by 2020, 49.8 per cent by 2040 and 58.1 per cent by 2050, to meet its reduction targets. Auckland’s Climate Action Plan, currently under development, will set an emission target consistent with the Paris Agreement aspiration of 1.5°C maximum temperature rise and a path to rapidly reduce emissions.

In 2016, net emissions were 6.3 t CO2e per capita and 121 t CO2e per million $NZ GDP (2009/2010 prices) while gross emissions were 7.0 t CO2e per capita and 135 t CO2e per million $NZ GDP. These values were lower than in 2009, and this shows that Auckland decouples emissions from population and economic growth.

Overall, in 2016 gross and net emissions have dropped from the 2015 levels, as a result of lower emissions from energy and IPPU sectors, and more carbon sequestration from forestry. It is not clear if this is the start of a downward trend.

Auckland Council technical report TR2019/002


See also:

Ministry for the Environment

New Zealand's Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Last updated: 2019-04-01