Emissions share CO2 primary industry New Zealand 2017 by sector

In 2017, emissions from the agriculture sector accounted for around 49.7 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent. It was the highest greenhouse gas emitting primary industry, with the mining, forestry, and fishing sectors contributing a much lower share of emissions.

Agriculture’s contribution to emissions

While the agricultural sector plays a crucial role in New Zealand’s economy, the environmental impact has been highlighted in recent years. Possibly in response to tightening regulations, the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions were projected to decrease slightly by 2020. Methane, which comes from the ruminant emissions of cows, is the most dominant greenhouse gas in this sector. Apart from methane, nitrous oxide is also emitted from this sector, when fertilizer soaks into soil or water.

Action on agricultural emissions

Most New Zealanders support a reduction in the country’s greenhouse emissions. In late 2019, a zero-carbon bill was passed in New Zealand. One of the initiatives of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act was to reduce biogenic methane in New Zealand by between 24 and 47 percent by 2050. Major changes in this sector may be expected, in order for the country to maintain integrity in its agriculture practices while moving towards the emissions target as outlined in the bill.

Share of greenhouse gas emissions in the primary industry in New Zealand in 2017, by sector

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Release date

June 2019


New Zealand

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Note: This work is based on/includes Stats NZ's data which are licensed by Stats NZ for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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