Around 70-75% of our electricity requirements are normally met from renewable sources - hydro and geothermal generators. The fossil fuel component is increasing. The energy-intensive yet efficient nature of many of our manufacturing and exporting activities present very few opportunities for the industrial sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
New Zealand is unique amongst Annex B countries in that the greatest contribution to its greenhouse gas inventory is methane (from ruminant animals). New Zealand's 1990 GHG inventory is shown in Table 1. The transport sector is responsible for most of the growth in New Zealand's CO2 emissions since 1990.
New Zealand is also unique amongst Annex B countries in that the economy is very energy intensive - second only to Canada in the OECD. Energy is thus very important to the economy and the availability and cost of energy has been a major contributor to the growth enjoyed over the last 40 years.
Government Climate Change policies do not seek to stabilise GHG emissions to 1990 levels during the first commitment period. New Zealand's sink credits will be sufficient to cover the expected growth in emissions for at least the first commitment period.
New Zealand has high abatement costs compared to most countries. The reasons are the already high portion of renewable energy, the high transport component in the economy and the high dependence on exports.
It is unlikely the New Zealand CO2 emissions will reach the stabilisation target level without significant action in the transport sector.