New Zealand is on track to meet its greenhouse gas emissions commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, the government announced Thursday.
The forecast was based on the Ministry for the Environment's annual Net Position report, which forecasts how much the country's emissions will be above or below its Kyoto Protocol target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.
"The good news is that the latest Net Position estimates New Zealand will have a surplus of 23.1 million tonnes for the Kyoto Period of 2008-2012. In 2011, the net position figure was estimated to be 21.9 million tonnes," Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser said.
That meant net emissions were estimated to be 23.1 million tonnes less than New Zealand's Kyoto target and at the current carbon price of 8.20 NZ dollars (6.73 U.S. dollars) per tonne, the surplus had an estimated value of 189 million NZ dollars, Groser said in a statement.
The Greenhouse Gas Inventory 19902010, a reporting requirement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was also released Thursday, and showed gross emissions in 2010 increased by only 0.2 percent from 2009 to 71.7 million tonnes.
"I am particularly pleased to see emission reductions in the electricity sector are being driven by increased renewable generation and more gas being used rather than coal," Groser said.
On Wednesday, the government said it would submit New Zealand's greenhouse-gas heavy agriculture industry to its fledgling emissions trading scheme (ETS) only if the country's trading partners stepped up efforts to stave off climate change.
The government said it was proposing a provision for a maximum three-year postponement of the agriculture sector's inclusion, subject to a review in 2014.
According to the New Zealand government's climate change information website, the agriculture sector is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand, making up approximately 48 percent of the country's total emissions and its emissions are still growing.