Auckland's carbon impact 15 pct higher than average fellow New Zealanders

Aucklanders' carbon impact is 15 percent higher than the average household across the rest of New Zealand, a new report has found. 

The report, commissioned by Auckland Council and published on Monday, found food, housing, household utilities, and transport were the largest drivers of greenhouse gas emissions from households across the country.

A 2020 report found that, despite New Zealand's size and due to our wealth, Aotearoa is the fourth highest producer of gross emissions per capita in the OECD.

Lead climate mitigation advisor at Auckland Council, Adrien Bouzonville, said household consumption is an important contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but they've not been able to quantify it before now.

"Aucklanders might be surprised to find out they could be contributing more than their fair share to our overall emissions, especially as a household's carbon footprint tends to increase with its income," he said in a statement.

"However, recent research also found 73 percent of Aucklanders were prepared to change their personal consumption behaviour to reduce climate change, which is certainly encouraging."

Bouzonville said households can take more actions to consume more responsibly, such as buying local products and services, extending the lifetime of products (from electronics to appliances and clothing and footwear), using active modes of transport, enjoying holidays closer to home, and encouraging a more circular local economy.

Auckland's carbon impact 15 pct higher than average fellow New Zealanders
Photo credit: Getty Images

But the majority of Auckland households believe the council has a role to play in helping reduce the city's emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Councillor Richard Hills, chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee, said emissions need to be reduced now to create a sustainable future for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and New Zealand.

"Our aim is to play a leadership role in this space, helping Aucklanders understand the steps they can also take to help us achieve effective climate action," he said in a statement.

"This report is a significant step towards capturing the direct and indirect impact of households' purchases, helping educate Aucklanders on where their personal emissions are occurring, while also identifying sectors and commodities that are of greater concern when it comes to further reducing our carbon footprint."

Auckland Council said it is striving to reduce the city's carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

Bouzonville said if there are Aucklanders wondering what they can "realistically" do as individuals, he suggested looking at the carbon footprint tool FutureFit.

"Every household contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and we can all act to mitigate those emissions with simple and wise changes to our behaviours."

Auckland Council said the report will set a new standard on how to address consumption emissions for businesses, households, and local and central governments by ensuring there's a consistent approach to measuring consumption emissions in New Zealand.