Air pollutants don’t just affect local areas – they can have a worldwide effect.
The major cause of climate change is thought to be human-made greenhouse gases (especially from burning fossil fuels). But New Zealand is unique among developed countries because more than half (55 percent) of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture.
Agriculture emissions are mostly made up of non-carbon dioxide (CO2) gases, such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).
Greenhouse gases play an important role in trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Without greenhouse gases, Earth’s average surface temperature would be too cold to support life. But when there’s too much of these gases in the atmosphere too much heat can be trapped.
The main greenhouse gases are:
Check out the Ministry for the Environment's (external link)information on climate change and the effects of greenhouse gases.
The potential effects of climate change on the Waikato region include:
Find out more about how climate change may affect Natural Hazards in the Waikato region.
In the Waikato region, industry, agriculture, households and transport all produce greenhouse gases. Sources include:
Removing vegetation adds to the problem because there is less vegetation to act as a 'carbon sink' (vegetation removes carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis). In contrast, planting trees and other vegetation helps remove carbon dioxide from the air.
Draining and developing peatland areas releases about 1.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Find out how to better manage development on peat soils.
New Zealand’s Central Government is responsible for setting controls on the release of greenhouse gases. The Government has signed and ratified the international United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. Find out more about the UNFCCC(external link) from the Ministry for the Environment.
Refrigerant gases must be disposed of in an environmentally acceptable way.
RECOVERY is a trust, formed by the New Zealand Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers, which promotes and facilitates the collection, storage and disposal of all ozone depleting substances during the phasing out period. RECOVERY, also consults with environmental groups and reports regularly to government through the Minister for the Environment.
You can find out more by visiting the recovery website(external link).
You can also find more information on the Environmental Protection Authority’s website(external link).
You can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by:
Find out how to be energy efficient around your home and business on the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority(external link) web pages.