CO2 growth outstrips NZ economy

New Zealand Energy Minister Pete Hodgson says Kiwis need to break the link between economic growth and escalating fossil fuel use.

Hodgson was commenting on the New Zealand Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990-2002 report which shows the energy sector's gross carbon dioxide emissions grew by 2.7% during 2001-02 and that average annual growth since 1990 has been 2.4%.

Of the energy sector's carbon dioxide emissions, 45% came from domestic transport, 21% from industry and 18% from thermal electricity generation. CO2 emissions from domestic transport grew by 10%, reflecting higher petrol and diesel consumption.

Hodgson said New Zealand's per capita emissions were relatively low among 23 OECD countries, but it had the second highest percentage increase in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990-2000.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand is obliged to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels, on average, over 2008-2012, or take responsibility for emissions above that level.

"These figures emphasise the challenge we face in halting growth in emissions and securing a reduction in the long term," added Hodgson, who is also Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change.

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