The Air

  • Chris R. de Freitas
  • Martin Perry
Chapter

Abstract

New Zealand’s location in the strong prevailing southwesterly wind belt and its relatively small industrial economy and population means that it generally has good air quality. But this is not necessarily the case in the nation’s major urban centres. Indicators of air quality show that conditions in the main urban regions areas are generally poor. Legislation controls on the most important source of air pollutants, namely motor vehicles, remains weak. Fine airborne particles and carbon monoxide are the main pollutants. New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions rose by almost 20% from 1990 to 2009. Emissions data show that New Zealand is not typical of developed nations in that almost half of total emissions in 2009 were produced by pastoral-land activities. There is an increasing dependence on fossil fuels, although electricity from hydro generation continues to dominate energy consumption. Decoupling indicators suggest that New Zealand’s economy is reducing its reliance on energy while sustaining growth. Food miles and carbon footprint indicators can be used to show that energy efficiency in the agricultural sector in New Zealand compares well against other producers.

Key Concepts and Terms

Air pollution Carbon credits Carbon dioxide Carbon monoxide Chlorofluorocarbons Decoupling indicators Energy efficiency policies Energy policy Energy use Exceedances Fine airborne particles PM10 and PM2.5 Food miles Fossil fuels Global warming Greenhouse gases Halons • Kyoto protocol Lead Methane Motor vehicle emissions Oxides of nitrogen Ozone Renewable energy Sulphur dioxide Volatile organic compounds 

References

  1. Aldy, J. (2006). Per capita carbon dioxide emissions: Convergence or divergence? Environmental and Resource Economics, 33(4), 533–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amano, M., & Sedjo, R. (2003). Forest carbon sinks: European Union, Japanese, and Canadian approaches (Discussion Paper 03–41). Washington, DC: Resources for the Future http://www.rff.org/Publications/Pages/PublicationDetails.aspx?PublicationID=17212.Accessed 18 Apr 2012.
  3. Auckland Regional Council. (2001). Proposed Auckland regional plan: Air, land and water. Auckland: Auckland Regional Council.Google Scholar
  4. Auckland Regional Council. (2006). Auckland air emissions inventory: 2004 (Technical Publication 292). Auckland: Auckland Regional Council.Google Scholar
  5. Brill, B. E. (2010a, May). Crisis in New Zealand climatology. Quadrant Magazine. www.­quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/05/crisis-in-new-zealand-climatology. Accessed 12 Jan 2011.
  6. Brill, B. E. (2010b, June). New Zealand climate crisis gets worse. Quadrant Magazine. www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/06/nz-climate-crisis-gets-worse. Accessed 12 Jan 2011.
  7. Chinn, T., Winkler, S., Salinger, M. J., & Haakensen, N. (2005). Recent glacier advances in Norway and New Zealand: A comparison of their glaciological and meteorological causes. Geografiska Annaler, 87A(1), 141–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Freitas, C. R. (2005, May 2). Emissions make most of us fume: Government inaction over vehicle exhausts. The New Zealand Herald, p. A15.Google Scholar
  9. de Freitas, C. R. (2008, May 20). Data key for carbon scheme. The New Zealand Herald, p. A11.Google Scholar
  10. de Freitas, C. R. (2010, May 31). Carbon scheme may be costly symbol: Ramifications of emission trading. The New Zealand Herald, p. A11.Google Scholar
  11. Fisher, G., Rolfe, K., Kjellstrom, T., Woodward, A., Hales, S., Sturman, A., Kingham, S., Petersen, J., Shrestha, R., & King, D. (2002). Health effects due to motor vehicle air pollution in New Zealand. Report to the Ministry of Transport. Wellington: Ministry of Transport.Google Scholar
  12. Hannah, J. (2004). An updated analysis of long-term sea level change in New Zealand. Geophysical Research Letters, 31, L03307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hessell, J. W. D. (1980). Apparent trends of mean temperature in New Zealand since 1930. New Zealand Journal of Science, 32, 1–9.Google Scholar
  14. Hessell, J. W. D. (1983). Climatic effects on the recession of the Franz Joseph Glacier. New Zealand Journal of Science, 26, 315–320.Google Scholar
  15. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). In S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K. B. Averyt, M. Tignor, & H. L. Miller (Eds.), Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kunzli, N., & Tager, B. (2000). Long-term health effects of particulate and other ambient air pollution: research can progress faster if we want it to. Environmental Health Perspectives, 108(10), 915–918.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mahlman, J. D. (1997). Uncertainties in projections of human-caused climate warming. Science, 278, 1416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ministry for the Environment. (2003a). Emission inventories for PM 10 in New Zealand (Air Quality Technical Report 38). Wellington: MfE.Google Scholar
  19. Ministry for the Environment. (2003b). Emission inventories for CO, NO x , SO 2 , ozone, benzene and benzo(a) pyrene in New Zealand. Air Quality Technical Report 44 prepared by Environet Limited. Wellington: MfE.Google Scholar
  20. Ministry for the Environment. (2005). Resource management (national environmental standards relating to certain air pollutants, dioxins and other toxics) consolidated regulations 2004 including amendments. SR2004/309, SR 2004/433 and SR 2005/214. Wellington: MfE.Google Scholar
  21. Ministry for the Environment. (2006a). Gentle footprints: Boots ‘n’ all. Wellington: MfE.Google Scholar
  22. Ministry for the Environment. (2006b). Projected balance of emissions units during the first ­commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Wellington: MfE.Google Scholar
  23. Ministry for the Environment. (2009a). New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2007. Wellington: MfE.Google Scholar
  24. Ministry for the Environment. (2009b). New Zealand’s 2020 emissions target (Info 422). Wellington: MfE.Google Scholar
  25. Ministry for the Environment. (2011). New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2009. Wellington: MfE.Google Scholar
  26. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. (2011). Review of MAF afforestation schemes (MAF Information Paper 2011/07). Wellington: MAF.Google Scholar
  27. Ministry of Economic Development. (2010). New Zealand energy greenhouse gas emissions. Wellington: MED.Google Scholar
  28. Ministry of Economic Development. (2011). New Zealand energy strategy and the New Zealand energy efficiency and conservation strategy. Wellington: MED.Google Scholar
  29. Ministry of Transport. (2004). The New Zealand vehicle emissions screening programme. Wellington: Ministry of Transport.Google Scholar
  30. Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. (2005). Growing for good: Intensive farming, sustainability and New Zealand’s environment. Wellington: PCE.Google Scholar
  31. Saunders, C., Barber, A., & Taylor, G. (2006). Food miles – Comparative energy/emissions performance of New Zealand’s agriculture industry (Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit Research Report No. 285). Lincoln: Lincoln University.Google Scholar
  32. Scoggins, A., Kjellstrom, T., Fisher, G. W., Connor, J., & Gimson, N. R. (2004). Spatial analysis of annual air pollution exposure and mortality. The Science of the Total Environment, 321, 71–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sundakov, A. (2005). Greenhouse gas emissions policies – Is there a way forward? Wellington: Greenhouse Policy Coalition.Google Scholar
  34. The Economist. (2009). The Economist’s “Pocket World in Figures”, 2009 ed. http://www.­economist.com/node/12796728?story_id=12796728. Accessed 12 June 2011.
  35. World Health Organization (WHO). (2011). Public health and environment (PHE) database: Outdoor air pollution in cities. http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/en/ and http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2011/air_pollution_20110926/en/, Accessed 28 Sept 2011.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris R. de Freitas
    • 1
  • Martin Perry
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EnvironmentUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of ManagementMassey University (Wellington)WellingtonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations