New Zealand is consistently sucking up carbon, Australia less so

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Researchers have measured the Australasia region’s carbon emissions and storage over the last decade, finding that the Tasman Sea neighbours together nearly achieve net zero. New Zealand’s forests suck up carbon dioxide, and the country has lower reliance on fossil fuel emissions for energy, meaning Aotearoa is a consistent carbon sink. Australia jumps back and forth between a carbon sink and a carbon source, due to extreme weather events, wildfires, and a high reliance on fossil fuels for energy and exports. The authors note that this research did not look at methane, a potent greenhouse gas produced by both countries.

Journal/conference: Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Link to research (DOI): 10.1029/2023GB007845

Organisation/s: CSIRO, GNS Science, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Southern Cross University, The University of Melbourne, Edith Cowan University, Western Sydney University

Funder: Sara E Mikaloff-Fletcher, Beata Bukosa, Elizabeth Keller, Timothy Hilton, Donna Giltrap, Miko Kirschbaum and Liyin Liang received funding from the Government of New Zealand under the CarbonWatch-NZ Endeavour Research Programme (#C01X1817). The New Zealand work is additionally supported by Strategic Science Investment Funding (SSIF) from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) under the Measurements and modeling of carbon dioxide in the New Zealand region. Ronny Lauerwald acknowledges funding by the French state aid managed by the ANR under the “Investissements d’avenir” programme [ANR-16-CONV-0003_Cland]. Judith Rosentreter acknowledges funding from the Yale Institute of Biospheric Studies, Yale University.


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