Story: Economy and the environment

Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions

Methane and nitrous oxide are New Zealand’s main non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases. Methane comes mainly from the belching of ruminant animals, and nitrous oxide emissions come from animal excreta and nitrogen fertilisers. In 1990 methane emissions from livestock totalled about 20 million tonnes (non-agricultural sources of methane include the energy sector and landfills, which make up much of the remaining 5 million tonnes). By 2001 this had increased by nearly 10%, mainly due to the increase in dairy cow numbers. Emissions from sheep had declined due to a drop in numbers.

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How to cite this page:

Eric Pawson, 'Economy and the environment - New Zealand’s ecological impact', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 September 2021)

Story by Eric Pawson, published 11 Mar 2010