Greenhouse gas intensity

The data in this indicator is no longer being updated.

Stats NZ is developing well-being indicators, Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand - Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa, to track New Zealand’s progress. As the well-being indicators have similar aims to the NZ Progress Indicators and NZ Social Indicators, we are reviewing the future of these existing indicators.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Positive change

The greenhouse gas intensity of the economy has decreased 36 percent since 1990

  • Image, greenhouse gas intensity
    • The ratio of total greenhouse gas emissions to real gross domestic product (GDP), which takes into account production and consumption levels, overall has fallen since 1990. This means fewer emissions are produced per unit of real GDP.
    • Possible reasons include changes in the composition of the economy, for example the growth of the service sector, which produces relatively fewer greenhouse gases compared with other sectors.


     Note: This graph is interactive. Hover over the data points to see the exact values. Click legend text to hide or show variables.

    View source data

    The source data for this indicator is available from New Zealand's greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2014 on the Ministry for the Environment website, and from national accounts statistics on Statistics NZ's Infoshare. Enter this table reference in the Infoshare search box: SNE153AA.

    Changes we made to the source data

    We transformed the raw data for this indicator into an index measure, so that it can reflect changes in related variables relative to a base value. The base year for this indicator is 1990.

    To create a measure of greenhouse gas intensity, we divided the source data of total greenhouse gas emissions by real GDP.

    Definition and measure

    The greenhouse gas intensity indicator measures the relationship between the environment and economy by comparing two indicators. It measures whether emissions have grown or decreased faster or slower than growth in the economy.

    Greenhouse gas intensity compares production in the economy, as measured by real GDP, with total greenhouse gas emissions. The New Zealand greenhouse gas inventory is compiled on a geographical/territorial basis whereas real GDP covers the activity of economic resident units.

    Greenhouse gas emissions include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons. Each of these gases are converted into carbon dioxide equivalents. Real GDP is volume series, expressed in 2009/10 dollars, to remove the effect of price changes.

    Technical changes since 2010

    Real GDP is now expressed in 2009/10 prices instead of 1995/96 prices. Additional information about this change is available from Preview of 2014 national accounts improvements.

    The real GDP series for this indicator uses data for the December year (to match the time period of the total greenhouse gas emissions), rather than the March year used in Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2010.

    Previous publications

    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2010
    Measuring New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008
    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008

    Page updated June 2016

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