B+LNZ Chief Executive Sam McIvor says strengthened reduction targets must not disadvantage sectors that have already made significant reductions and that are already being asked to do more than their fair share.
“It’s difficult to tell exactly what the Government’s announcement means for agriculture, but we are concerned there has been no mention of a split gas target.
“We’ve repeatedly called for the Government to start reporting on both annual emissions and annual additional warming, to build understanding of the different impact gases are having on climate change – and for the Government to advocate internationally for the use of more appropriate metrics such as GWP*.
“Along with DairyNZ and Federated Farmers, we’re repeating our joint calls for the Government to show leadership on the world stage and strongly advocate for a focus on warming and for the use of GWP*, in line with the latest international science outlined in the recent IPCC report.
“New Zealand’s farmers are the best in the world at responding to change. Like all sectors, they have to work towards reducing emissions – all we’re asking is that they’re only being asked to do what’s fair.
“Emissions are not the same thing as warming. Without proper reporting of warming, it’s unclear what each sector is responsible for and the public doesn’t understand. We need to address this misconception that methane reduction targets are ‘letting agriculture off the hook’.
“We do not want to see any further increases in the methane reduction targets. The 10 percent reduction in methane by 2030 was already asking agriculture to do more than fossil fuel sectors. It was already asking our sector to ‘cool’ within a couple of years, while CO2 gets to keep adding additional warming out to 2050.”
Mr McIvor notes that while there has been attention on buying offsets through the planting of forests overseas, serious questions remain about what the increased targets mean domestically.
“We would be very concerned if the new NDC meant the Government needed to rely even more heavily on forestry offsetting within New Zealand. We are already losing too much productive sheep and beef farmland to carbon farming, with devastating effects on rural communities.
“Fossil fuel emitters shouldn’t be able to just plant their way out of jail, particularly not at the expense of the most sustainable meat production systems in the world. There instead needs to be actual reductions in warming.”
Mr McIvor also notes the sheep and beef sector has reduced its absolute emissions by over 30 percent since 1990 and total methane emissions from all agriculture have been stable for the last decade. “There needs to be recognition of the progress sectors have made – we shouldn’t be asking sectors that have already done the heavy lifting to pick up more to offset a lack of progress in other areas.”
For more information, please contact B+LNZ’s Katie Jans on email@example.com or 027 838 6353