22 Jul 2009

Greens say agriculture will exacerbate emissions figures

3:39 pm on 22 July 2009

The Green Party says latest statistics showing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions only tell half the story.

The Ministry of Economic Development says greenhouse gas output from the energy and industrial sectors for 2008 is up 4% from last year.

2008 is the first year New Zealand's emissions count towards its Kyoto Protocol obligations to cut greenhouse gases.

The Greens' climate change spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons says the picture will probably get worse when agriculture figures are released soon.

But she says the fact transport emissions bucked the trend and fell, in the face of high petrol prices, shows people will get out of their cars if the price of fuel starts to hurt.

Climate Change minister Nick Smith say the figures make a mockery of calls to make New Zealand carbon neutral, and the problem is much more complicated.

He says the government wants to introduce more renewable energy sources to help lower emissions and he believes changes to the Resource Management Act will help.

Gases from the energy sector - which includes transport - make up about half the country's greenhouse emissions, with most of the remaining chunk coming from agriculture.

Last year electricity emissions soared 15% higher than 2007 because of a dry year that saw the coal-fired powerstations brought into action.

Transport emmissions - which make up nearly half of the total energy sector - fell by 4%.