In this section of the report predictions on how mercury contributions from the sources outlined in Section II (Mercury Contributors) might change over the next ten years are calculated. One of the purposes of this is to assess whether the relative contribution of mercury from mercury-containing lamps is expected to change significantly over the next ten years when compared to New Zealand’s anthropogenic and overall mercury loads.
Making any predictions into the future is always difficult due to the large number of uncertainties that exist. Possible international conventions to combat mercury in the environment (e.g. the February 2009 agreement at the UNEP 25th Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment forum to work towards an international convention to limit mercury use) may influence the amount of mercury in certain products (e.g. lamps and batteries) and hence mercury emissions in the next ten years and beyond. In addition, other worldwide policy changes related to minimising greenhouse emissions from combustion sources may also limit mercury discharges (i.e. coal use may be limited and renewable energy sources will be encouraged).
Due to the large number of uncertainties associated with the future, the predictions in this section are based on our current knowledge, existing information sources, and discussions with various industries. No attempt has been made to predict new technologies that might reduce mercury emissions in the future.