Greenhouse gas emissions

Tonnes of CO2 equivalent from road transport
Tonnes of CO2 equivalent from household energy use (electricity and gas)

Purpose of indicator

Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and their source is the starting point for managing and reducing emissions. It also allows us to monitor how the district is performing on a national level.  

Current information and trend

Rotorua’s greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions is road transport (figure 1). Emissions from road transport are 31.5% greater than emissions from electricity and natural gas consumption (figure 3). However, nationally Rotorua contributes less than 1.5% of road transport emissions.

Figure 1
Source: New Zealand Transport Agency, 2012

Note: Data beyond 2009/2010 was not available at the time of writing

From 2005/06 to 2009/10 CO2 emissions remained relatively steady, with a slightly decreasing trend. One reason for this may be the increase in petrol prices making it less affordable. Since 2004 petrol prices have almost doubled in New Zealand, as shown in figure 2.

Figure 2
Source: Ministry of Economic Development, 2011.

On a national level the New Zealand Transport Strategy 2008 gives direction on how the transport system should be delivered, and sets targets to 2040. The targets relevant to greenhouse gas emissions are:

  • Halve per capita greenhouse gas emissions from domestic transport by 2040.
  • Increase coastal shipping’s share of inter-regional freight to 30 percent of tonne-kilometres by 2040.
  • Increase rail’s share of freight to 25 percent of tonne kilometres by 2040.
  • Become one of the first countries in the world to widely use electric vehicles.
  • Reduce the kilometres travelled by single occupancy vehicles, in major urban areas on weekdays, by ten percent per capita by 2015 compared to 2007.
  • Reduce the rated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per kilometre of combined average new and used vehicles entering the light vehicle fleet to 170 grams CO2 per kilometre by 2015, with a corresponding reduction in average fuel used per kilometre.
  • Increase the area of Crown transport land covered with indigenous vegetation.
Locally the Rotorua Transport Demand Management Strategy was adopted by the council in 2008.
There are five key areas of focus:
  • Passenger Transport
  • Policy 
  • Parking 
  • Travel Behaviour Change 
  • Walking and Cycling

The strategy is about providing people with options for travel that reduce reliance on the inefficient use of motor vehicles, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the need to construct more roads.

Figure 3.
Source: Gas Industry and Unison Networks, 2011

Figure 3 shows greenhouse gas emissions from energy use (electricity and gas) in years 2009/10 to 2010/11 increased slightly, despite an increase in energy prices. The New Zealand Energy Strategy 2011-2021 stated four priority areas: diverse resources development, environmental responsibility, efficient use of energy and secure affordable energy. Three of the 12 focus areas detailed for priority that are particularly relevant to Rotorua are: develop renewable energy resources, embrace new energy technologies, and competitive energy markets.  Rotorua is well placed to make progress towards these priorities and focus areas, having available a range of alternative and renewable energy technology and resources that would also mean less greenhouse gas emissions. The National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation 2011 supports the Energy Strategy and came into effect in April 2011.

Geothermal energy is seen as having the biggest potential for renewable energy development in the district, reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated by other energy resources. In 2010 Mighty River Power relocated its Geothermal Operations Group to Rotorua. In the same year Mighty River Power and Tauhara No.2 Trust commissioned the Nga Awa Pura geothermal power station located just north of Taupo. According to Mighty River Power, in 2011 this power station sold 410,000 Emissions Reduction Units (ERUs), or carbon credits to Deutsche Bank AG for NZ$9.3m at NZ$22.78 per unit. In 2011 resource consent was granted to establish and operate a geothermal power station at Rotoma, and another two were granted in 2012 for geothermal drilling at Atiamuri and Taheke.


In summary

  • Rotorua’s greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions is road transport
  • Emissions from road transport are 31.5% greater than emissions from to electricity and natural gas consumption
  • Nationally Rotorua contributes less than 1.5% of road transport emissions



Page reviewed: 20 Feb 2015 2:03pm