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Carbon Emissions Guidelines for Personal Action

Guidelines on Personal Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

(All units Tonne CO2 Equivalent)

National emissions - per-person

New Zealand’s total per person Green-House Gas Emissions  is ~ 18.8/year

                   This includes ~50% agricultural emission, mainly methane.

                   This can be compared with:

                                         India                         1.7/yr

                                         China                        5.5/yr

                                         Sweden                     7.4/yr

                                         UK                           10.6/yr

                                         US                           23.5/yr

                                         Australia                   26.9/yr             ref: 2005 figures – Wikipaedia

 Note: these emissions include the emissions generated in producing exports, and arguably should be allocated to the countries in which the products are consumed.                                    

Private Emissions  - NZ per person

Average private consumption  accounts for   9.9/year          

Food represents ~ 1/3 of private emissions, and 1/3 of that is meat (incl poultry and fish)

Transport (Including air) represents ~1/4 of emissions

             Based on Motu Consulting research for 2007

Travel Examples


Travel (return, per person)                   Distance (Km)     Emissions Tonne CO2 Eq

Auckland -Wellington     air                           992                       0.290

                                 car (1 person)          1316                       0.302        

                                 (0.16 small diesel)

                                 coach                      1316                       0.047

                                 train                       1300                       0.034

Wellington - Dunedin     air                          1235                       0.362

Auckland-Dunedin         air                          2130                       0.624

Auckland - Sydney        air                          4325                       0.910

Auckland  – Tokyo        air                         17600                       3.700

Auckland – Los Angeles air                         21000                       4.400

Auckland - London        air                         36700                       7.710



1.       The emissions from a single person driving is similar to flying.

2.       The emissions from a return trip to London is ~ 80% of annual personal emissions.

3.       Cruise ship estimates vary, but exceed that of air transport, possibly by many times.

4.       To generate a financial value, multiply emissions by the carbon price, currently at NZD10/tonne, but some suggest it should be closer to USD60/tonne.(NZD93/tonne)

For more on personal emissions try the Herald emissions calculator prepared by Motu Consulting