Greenhouse gases increased more than 19 percent between 2007 and 2017 - Stats NZ

Stats NZ says household emissions increased by 19.3 percent between 2007 and 2017, mainly due to rising emissions from road transport.

On Thursday, the official data agency said New Zealand households are becoming less efficient at managing the emissions they produce.

Household emissions have increased due to rising emissions from road transport.
Household emissions have increased due to rising emissions from road transport. Photo credit: Getty

Massey University sustainable energy and climate mitigation Professor Emeritus Ralph Sims said the findings were "deeply concerning" and New Zealand had a major problem.

"The pending climate change legislation (now long overdue) will be essential to start to bring our emissions down but it will need strong regulations urgently imposed to make a difference in the short term," he said in a statement. "And time is running out."

Methane emissions largely come from livestock belching while carbon dioxide can come from transport.

Last month, the Government announced details on how it would combat climate change.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said on Thursday the Zero Carbon Bill would "pave the way" to manage a zero carbon future.

"I'm not surprised that household emissions had not stabilised and in fact are tracking up," Shaw said.

"Our work on promoting electric vehicles will also allow households to free themselves up from carbon-intensive transport."

Dairy cattle farming was the only agriculture industry to record an increase between 2007 and 2017 (up 27.7 percent), Stats NZ said. Prof Ralph Sims said decline in other agricultural areas was through increasing productivity on the farm.

However, it would be decades before any current research outputs to reduce methane and nitrous oxide have a "real impact", he said.

Shaw said farmers often get singled out as climate criminals, but the figures show there's work to do across the economy.

As a result of warming temperatures, sea levels are projected to rise by 0.3-1 metre by 2100. But the threat of Antarctic ice sheets collapsing could mean this range substantially increases.

International pressure was growing for New Zealand to do more, Prof Sims said.

In 2015, New Zealand agreed to keep global average temperatures below 2C and pursuing efforts to limit to 1.5C, when it signed up to the Paris Agreement.