What’s the carbon footprint of Rotorua?
When the carbon footprint of a city is calculated, it includes all activities within its borders and divides by the number of people living in that city. In 2018/19 Rotorua’s population was approx. 75,300 people, who collectively emitted about 1,389,000 tonne CO₂e gross (when forestry is not included) and 1,734,000 tonne CO₂e net (including forestry) – about 19 tonne CO₂e (gross) per person.
Nationally, New Zealanders emit about 17 tonne CO₂e /person.
Our district-wide footprint was updated in late 2020, showing an increase in gross emissions by 1%, but a reduction in per person emissions because population had increased by 5%. This was mainly due to an increase in renewable energy in the national grid and a reduction in waste emissions because of an improvement in landfill methane gas capture.
- Stationary energy: emissions from building energy use i.e. electricity, biofuel, natural gas, LPG, coal, petrol and diesel generators used by residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
- Transport: emissions from petrol and diesel (both on and off-road) and aviation fuel.
- Waste: emissions from landfills, wastewater treatment plants and individual septic tanks.
- IPPU (Industrial Processes and Produce Use): emissions from industrial processes or product use (i.e. refrigerators, aerosol cans that release GHG over time).
- Agriculture: emissions due to agriculture, predominantly from methane produced by livestock, manure of these animals, and nitrous oxide from nitrogen added to soils in the form of fertiliser.
The Rotorua district is largely a rural region, with 80% of the district’s land zoned rural (41% of land use is forestry, 43% is agriculture, 8% is lakes). As a result, our carbon emissions for agriculture are higher than nationally, reflecting the make-up of our district.
A large portion of our electricity is from renewable sources such as hydropower, geothermal and wind energy, so electricity generation does not make up much of our emissions compared to countries that predominantly burn coal and gas for electricity. Despite this, New Zealand has the sixth highest emissions per person amongst the Annex 1 countries (developed countries that have agreed to limit their GHG emissions). This is because about 50% of our emissions come from agriculture while most developed countries have only about 12%.
Have a look at how we compare with the rest of the world Per capita greenhouse gas emissions, 2019 (ourworldindata.org)
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