New Zealand

Covid-19 restrictions reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions fell 4.8% over the year to December, primarily due to the reduction in transport emissions from Covid-19.

Greenhouse gas emissions fell 4.8% over the year to December.
Photo: 123RF

Transport emissions increased by 11% in the three months to December compared to the September quarter, but fell significantly at pre-Covid-19 levels.

Transport emissions for the year ended December 2019 were 6037 kilotons, a 38% decrease compared to the same period of 3758 kilotons by 2020.

Total emissions fell quarter-on-quarter in December after a strong recovery in September.

Stephen Oakley, Statistics New Zealand’s Environmental Economics Account Manager, said this was in line with changes in economic activity.

“Emissions in the December 2020 quarter fell 1.7%, compared to a 1% drop in GDP.”

“Overall, emissions of transportation, postal and warehousing services declined, but emissions of domestic air and road transport increased slightly in the second half of this year due to deregulation of the country.”

Household emissions also declined on an annual basis due to a significant decline during the national blockade, but on a quarterly basis increased by 5.2% compared to September.

“At the end of 2020, household traffic usage increased and emissions increased as borders were closed and travel abroad was restricted.”

Manufacturing emissions fell by 10% annually, primarily due to lower gas and coal consumption, but GDP in this sector fell by only 3.1% over the same period.

“Since 2018, we can see that manufacturing emissions and GDP growth are slightly different,” says Oakley.

The figures are published with a delay of 3-4 months, while greenhouse gas inventories are published with a delay of 15-16 months.

Due to the experimental nature of the data, revisions are expected as Stats NZ refines the methodology and gradually improves the quality of the series. Quarterly emissions estimates are based on information available at the time of editing.

Covid-19 restrictions reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions

SourceCovid-19 restrictions reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions

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