9 Oct 2020

Greens cite outdated greenhouse gas figures

1:58 pm on 9 October 2020

By George Driver for AAP Factcheck

AAP FactCheck investigation: Have greenhouse gas emissions from the construction industry increased by two-thirds over the past decade?

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Greens co-leader James Shaw. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The Statement

"Emissions from the construction sector have also increased by two-thirds over the last decade."

James Shaw, Green Party co-leader, 5 October, 2020.

The Analysis

The Green Party says it wants to reduce greenhouse emissions from the construction industry, which it claims have increased significantly over the past decade.

The party released its sustainable building policy on 5 October and Stuff reported that Green Party co-leader James Shaw said emissions from the construction industry had increased significantly.

"Emissions from the construction sector have also increased by two-thirds over the last decade," Shaw said. "If we continue on this path, we risk locking in higher emissions for decades to come."

AAP FactCheck examined Shaw's statement that emissions from construction have increased by two-thirds over the past decade.

Shaw's office said the statement was based on figures from a 2019 Stats NZ report, Environmental-economic Accounts: 2019, which includes emissions from a range of industries between 2007 and 2017.

A summary of the report said emissions in the construction industry had increased 66 percent in the 10 years between 2007 and 2017.

However, these figures were updated in June with emissions up to 2018, which is the most recent year for which data is available.

Figures accompanying the latest report show emissions in the construction sector had increased by 60.2 percent in the 10 years from 2008 to 2018, from 769 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to 1232 (table 2).

The verdict

AAP FactCheck found the statement that emissions from the construction sector have increased by two-thirds over the last decade to be somewhat true.

While a report released last year found emissions from the sector increased by 66 percent in the 10 years to 2017, the most recent figures show emissions increased at the lower rate of 60.2 per cent in the 10 years to 2018.

Somewhat True - A part or parts of the claim are accurate but there is also a significant problem or inaccuracy.

*AAP FactCheck is accredited by the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network, which promotes best practice through a stringent and transparent Code of Principles.

*Updated Monday 12 October 2020: Amends year range in paragraph six and eight of the Analysis and second paragraph of Verdict to 10 years, and updates percentages based on new year range.

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