For the first time, the Waikato Regional Council’s three-yearly survey of greenhouse gas emissions has a breakdown for Thames-Coromandel District and other Waikato districts.
By an accident of nature Thames-Coromandel is fortunate in having a significant part of its land area covered in native forest in the DOC estate, (and exotic forest. ) These forests sequester carbon which means that Thames-Coromandel along with Taupo District are carbon neutral, whereas districts with high agricultural activities have the highest carbon footprint.
On the other hand, Thames-Coromandel has the third highest level of transport emissions in the Waikato. This is likely due to peak holiday periods when thousands of visitors arrive by vehicle. Thames-Coromandel District’s transport emissions are about 40% of those in Hamilton City.
This means that Thames-Coromandel District’s greatest opportunity to reduce emissions is by encouraging a quick transition to electric vehicles.
In the Waikato agriculture remains the largest contributor to the total gross emissions – a whopping 69 per cent, followed by transportation 15 per cent
Transportation emissions in the Waikato as a whole are up 32.3 per cent since the 2015-2016 inventory.
The 2018-19 survey measures stationary energy (e.g. electricity, gas, fuels), transportation (on-road fuels), waste, industry and agriculture emissions, along with forestry sequestration.
The inventory, shows the region has a wide emissions profile and identifies where best we can focus on transitioning to a low emissions economy – and create more jobs – by planting more trees, working towards a lower carbon footprint in the agricultural industry and accelerating electrified transport.
The next step is to use the information from the inventory to develop a climate action roadmap to support Waikato Regional Council and the territorial authorities to become leaders in carbon and water management.
Some interesting facts and figures:
- Activities within Waikato region’s boundaries generated approximately 12,646,982 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2e) between July 2018 and June 2019. When forestry is included, the total net emissions for the region are 7,116,073t CO2
- Agriculture remains the largest contributor to the total gross emissions for Waikato (69 per cent), followed by transportation (15 per cent) and stationary energy (13 per cent).
- Forestry removed a net volume of 5,530,909t CO2e or about 44 per cent of the total gross emissions.
- Since the 2015-16 report, total net emissions (including forestry) have increased 349,291t CO2e (5.2 per cent) to 7,116,073t CO2e, and total gross emissions (excluding forestry) have increased 247,439t CO2e (0.02 per cent) to 12,646,982t CO2
- Agriculture is the only sector to see a drop in gross emissions (-4.2 per cent).
- Transportation emissions is up 32.3 per cent and stationary energy emissions have increased 8.4 per cent due to population growth.
- Carbon removal rates by forestry have decreased by 101,852t CO2e (-1.8 per cent).
- The net emissions per capita vary widely between the districts from -34.4 tonnes of CO2 (carbon positive) for Taupō district to 82.8 for Ōtorohanga district.
- Thames-Coromandel district was also carbon positive due to high levels of sequestration from forestry.
- Hamilton has the lowest gross emissions (excluding forestry) per capita at 6t CO2
- Waitomo has the highest gross emissions (excluding forestry) per capita at 109t CO2
- Waikato district is the highest emitter of agricultural emissions (1,721,291t CO2e), followed by Waipa (1,148,353) and Matamata-Piako (1,475,468).
- On a per capita basis, Waikato’s gross (excluding forestry) emissions are significantly higher than the national (26.7 v 16.5t CO2e); agriculture emissions are high (18.2 v 7.9t CO2e) while forestry sector removes more than double the national average (-11.7 v -4.9t CO2e).
- Stationary energy, waste and IPPU emissions are below the national averages.