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Managing our greenhouse gas emissions

To better understand where to put our focus, we recently commissioned a community carbon footprint for our region. Learn more about regional greenhouse gas emissions and emissions reduction activities.

Our regional emissions goals

Our regional goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050. To inform this work, we monitor regional greenhouse gas emissions. Hawke’s Bay’s first community carbon footprint was commissioned for the periods of 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21. To view the full report click here.

In 2023, this community carbon footprint was updated and emissions for the financial year of 2021/22 were calculated using the most recent data. A summary of the full report is available here.

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases are reported as CO2-e, which is a measure used for comparing greenhouse gases (such as CH4, N2O, carbon dioxide (CO2)) based on the warming effect of each gas relative to an equivalent amount of CO2.

Forests are both carbon sinks and sources. Plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere but also release CO2 when harvested. Hawke’s Bay forests are a net carbon sink removing approximately two-thirds of the gross emissions.

The infographic below shows gross emissions of greenhouse gases in Hawke’s Bay. Over the last four years, there has been little overall change in gross emissions. 

HB Carbon Footprint 2021-22

Hawke's Bay's total gross and net emissions from 2018/19 to 2021/22

Net/Gross Emissions2018/19 (ktCO2-e)2019/20 (ktCO2-e)2020/21 (ktCO2-e)2021/22 (kt CO2-e)
Total Net Emissions (including forestry) 1,702 1,277 1,437 1,489
Total Gross Emissions (excluding forestry) 4,343 4,019 4,299 4,340

Agriculture and transport together account for a significant amount of the total gross emissions in Hawke’s Bay. Because of this, achieving carbon neutral will require both emissions reduction, more so in these challenging-to-reduce sectors, and increased offsets for unavoidable emissions.

Additional reporting

Ministry for the Environment produce an annual report on the national greenhouse gas emissions.

Statistics New Zealand produce regional indicators - Greenhouse gas emissions by region (industry and household): Year ended 2022 | Stats NZ

New Zealand’s emissions targets

Aotearoa New Zealand has legislated our 2050 emissions reductions targets. These are:

  • net zero greenhouse gas emissions (except biogenic methane)
  • a 24-47% reduction in biogenic methane

What is biogenic methane?

Biogenic methane is produced by living organisms. This means emissions resulting from plant or animal processes in the waste and agriculture sectors.

New Zealand's emissions budgets

New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission has recognised that emissions budgets sit at the heart of the transition to a thriving, climate resilient and low-emissions Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Climate Change Commission is responsible for providing advice to the New Zealand Government on emissions reductions pathways and in their May 2021 report they identified that we are not on track to meet our targets.

They explain this is due to a previous short-term focus on relying on planting trees and purchasing offshore mitigation rather than actual emissions reductions at source.

An alternative approach is needed, and the Climate Change Commission called out the need to develop emissions budgets that are equitable, ambitious and achievable. Read the full Climate Change Commission report.

In May 2022 the Government published New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan. This sets the direction for climate action for the next 15 years and lays out targets and required actions for every sector of the economy.

Aligned to New Zealand’s emissions targets, our goal is for Hawke’s Bay to be carbon neutral by 2050.

What is the Regional Council doing to help reduce emissions in Hawke’s Bay?

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While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

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