Wellington City Council (WCC) is taking action with its Te Atakura – First to Zero blueprint to make Wellington City a zero-carbon capital by 2050.

Working closely with WCC, AECOM has calculated Wellington City’s Community Carbon footprint over 2020, 2021, and 2022; an inventory that is now the primary measurement to track Wellington’s progress towards net zero.  

The Te Atakura – First to Zero blueprint outlines activities to help reduce emissions in four target areas: Transport, Building Energy and Urban Form, Advocacy, and the Council. The emissions footprint focuses on assessing the relative impact of each emissions source and the trend in emissions over time to help WCC make informed decisions. 

Wellington’s emissions were measured using the production-based Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory. This approach includes emissions from Transport, Stationary Energy, Waste, Industrial Processes and Product Use, Agriculture, and Forestry. 

Emissions snapshot 
The 2021/22 emission footprint identified transport, stationary energy relating to electricity and natural gas consumption, and waste as critical emitters. Between 2020 and 2022, total gross emissions in Wellington decreased by 9% from 939,309 tCO2e to 853,513 tCO2e.

Figure 1 Infographic courtesy of Wellington City Council

Transport, the largest emitting sector in Wellington, decreased emissions by 13% between 2020 and 2022, driven by reduced air travel emissions and on-road petrol and diesel consumption. Stationary energy saw a decrease in electricity consumption emissions of 6% between 2020 and 2022 due to the reduced use of fossil fuel electricity generation in the national grid. 

AECOM’s New Zealand Sustainability and Resilience team has calculated and reported on Community Carbon Footprints for many local and regional councils, including footprints for Dunedin, Christchurch, the Bay of Plenty Region, Hawkes Bay Region and Waikato Region. This is the fifth time AECOM has calculated Wellington’s greenhouse gas emissions, covering annual emissions from 2001 to 2022, including an assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.