What the AR5 graph shows
- Gross emissions increased from 68.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e) in 1990 to 81.8 Mt CO2-e in 2020. With existing measures, gross emissions are projected to steadily decrease to 59.2 Mt CO2-e in 2050.
- Target accounting net emissions were 73.3 Mt CO2-e in 2020. Target accounting emissions are projected to remain steady in the early 2020’s, before declining, easing in the 2040’s, to 31.8 Mt CO2-e in 2050.
What we include
- Gross emissions include emissions from all sectors of the New Zealand economy excluding forestry and land-use emissions/removals. The sectors include energy (including transport), agriculture, industrial processes and product use and waste. They also include emissions from Tokelau.
- Net emissions include gross emissions, plus emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry.
- Gross and net emissions are reported annually, by sector, in our national greenhouse gas inventory, as required under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- Target accounting emissions include gross emissions, along with a subset of our forestry and land-use emissions and removals, that are consistent with the accounting rules New Zealand has elected to apply post-2020. These count towards New Zealand’s first Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement (2021–2030) as well as New Zealand’s domestic targets and budgets.
How we project emissions
The emissions projections to 2050 incorporate information from New Zealand's greenhouse gas inventory which provides emissions data up to 2020. The projections have been prepared under the UNFCCC guidelines for reporting emissions within the National Communications and Biennial Report as well as for target accounting purposes post-2020.
The projections scenario presented on this webpage assumes only existing policies. These projections do not capture most of the new policies included in New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan (ERP), released in May 2022.
These projections, and those in the National Communication and Biennial Report have a different approach to the projections developed in 2021 and 2022 to support New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan.
These projections take a sector level approach based on UNFCCC reporting guidelines, while emissions for the ERP focused on understanding the mitigation potential of specific policies and measures. The difference in methodologies means the two sets of projections are not directly comparable.
For additional scenarios and more information on projections methodologies, assumptions, and policies included, see Chapter 5 - Projections in New Zealand’s Eighth National Communication.
Tracking progress towards targets
The Ministry publishes updates on how New Zealand is tracking towards its NDC.