NZ's greenhouse emissions getting worse, new report finds

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New Zealand's greenhouse emissions are getting worse while the rest of the OECD's are falling and something needs to be done to curb the country's farming emissions, according to an international report.

The latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) environmental performance review has found Kiwis are driving too much and not enough is being done to reduce the greenhouse effects of farming.

Today's report finds gross emissions from New Zealand increased 6 per cent from 2000 to 2014, while falling 5 per cent across the 35 OECD member countries.

The OECD's latest analysis says exploitation of New Zealand's natural resources for economic growth is hurting the environment.
Source: 1 NEWS

Per capita, New Zealand is among the five highest emitters in the OECD.

The report, which follows one in 2007, found 49 per cent of New Zealand's greenhouse gases are coming from agriculture, the highest share of any OECD country.

But it said the Emissions Trading Scheme - the main vehicle for New Zealand to meet its environmental targets - excluded farms.

The report also found Kiwis had the highest rate of car ownership in the OECD, and that the fleet was old and inefficient, making it the country's second large source of emissions.

"New Zealand needs to ensure its climate policies are effective in curbing emissions in all sectors, notably transport and agriculture," OECD environment director, and former New Zealand environment minister, Simon Upton said.

The report made 50 recommendations, saying it appeared New Zealand's growth was starting to harm its environment, including freshwater quality.

"New Zealand's growth model, based largely on exploiting natural resources, is starting to show its environmental limits with increasing greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution."

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Massey University Centre for Energy Research director Ralph Sims says the report is a "fail grade".

"Surely by now the government must have received the message, loud and clear, that we are not doing our fair share to prevent the global temperature rising above a level where we will all be worse off," Prof Sims said.

But Environment Minister Nick Smith says the report shows New Zealand has done a lot in the last decade, including introducing environmental pricing on waste in 2009 and on greenhouse gas emissions in 2010.

He also cited new national policy statements in areas of freshwater management, urban development and coastal management.

The report highlighted New Zealand still had a high quality environment, with good air, high renewable energy use and a comprehensive natural resource management system, Dr Smith said.

"This environmental report card will help us sharpen our future direction and environmental aspirations, as well as learn from the experiences of other countries."

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