Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time and we’re already feeling the effects of it. Christchurch City Council has committed to do everything we can, for now and for our future, with targets for reduced emissions across our district. 

Our aim is to halve emissions by 2030, compared with 2016-17 levels, and achieve carbon zero by 2045.

Our focus is on our living and transport options. The issues of where and how we live and how we get around go hand in hand, with on-road transport contributing to 36% of our district’s total emissions.

Take a look at our Emission Tracker(external link) to get a better understanding of our biggest emission sources, as well as general transport trends in our district.

Burning petrol and diesel fossil fuels release emissions including carbon dioxide, which stays in the atmosphere for an extremely long time, trapping in heat from the sun and raising global temperatures. By working together to slow global warming, we can help avoid the worst consequences of climate change. 

These targets were set in 2019 when the Council declared the Climate and Ecological Emergency, in response to strong feedback from our community(external link), who are at the heart of our decision-making. Cities and countries worldwide have also committed to taking urgent action to cut their emissions.

You can read a detailed overview of our emissions in the Christchurch greenhouse gas emission inventories for financial years 2018/2019 and 2016/2017 – AECOM report [PDF, 652 KB], published October 2020.

Please note the contribution of agricultural GHG emissions is likely to be overestimated because of the way Statistics New Zealand estimates stock numbers for the Christchurch district. New methods to measure Christchurch district’s greenhouse gas emissions are being investigated. 

Christchurch’s first emissions target is half by 2030. 

This means that over the next few years we can explore new ways and opportunities to reduce emissions as we transition to being a more sustainable city.

This is the first step in ensuring we reach our target of net zero emissions by 2045.

Our greenhouse gas emission tracker(external link) allows people to see how the district is tracking across different emission sources, as well as displaying general transport trends.

The tracker displays transportation modes, including fossil-fuelled vehicles and bus patronage. It also shows stationary energy use from electricity, diesel and petrol. This includes emissions from the use of gas, coal and geothermal energy to generate electricity.

It also includes estimated greenhouse gas emissions from plant use such as diesel and petrol use in generators and from diesel boilers.

Data is fed in from different sources and the tracker displays the monthly trends for users. 

At 36%, the single biggest source of our emissions is on-road petrol and diesel transport. Burning petrol and diesel fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, or CO2, which stays in the atmosphere for a very long time.

This means that a percentage of  CO2 from every short trip and long journey powered by fossil fuel will continue to heat the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

Gaining a full understanding of what contributes to carbon emissions means we can work towards lowering them, focusing on effective ways to tackle the issue of transport and the related issues of how and where we live.

With on-road petrol and diesel transport contributing to 36% of our total emissions, switching to better, low-emission ways to get around whenever possible will make a significant difference.

Options include biking, taking the bus, using a battery electric scooter or electric vehicle and, of course, walking.

Making it safer and easier for everyone to get around in low-emission ways is a big priority, and plenty of work has already been completed, with more measures on the way.