Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) welcomes the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report on livestock emissions which recognises the difference in the warming potential between short and long term greenhouse gases.
The Commissioner’s report says that if New Zealand wishes to ensure that methane from livestock contributes no additional warming beyond current levels, methane emissions from all livestock will need to be reduced from 2016 levels by between 10 – 22 per cent by 2050, and 20 – 27 per cent by 2100.
This report makes an important contribution to understanding the complex science relating to the behaviour of the different gases.
B+LNZ General Manager, Policy and Advocacy Dave Harrison acknowledges that for New Zealand to meet its international commitments all sectors of the economy have a role to play and B+LNZ has set a target of being net carbon neutral by 2050.
“We recognise that for New Zealand to have a meaningful role in combating climate change all sectors need to play their part, but there also needs to be recognition of the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions reduction that sectors have already made since 1990,” says Mr Harrison.
Since 1990 the sheep and beef sector has reduced its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent. This has been due to efficiency gains that have seen the sector produce similar quantities of red meat from fewer animals, while also increasing the value of our exports.
“While the focus to date has been on absolute emissions, it’s also equally important to fully understand and take into account the opportunities to sequester carbon on sheep and beef farms through both native forest and pine plantations,” says Mr Harrison.
B+LNZ is currently working to understand the extent of the sequestration already occurring on sheep and beef farms from the 1.4 million hectares of native forest and 180,000 hectares of pine plantation on those farms.
“We believe this is making a significant contribution to offsetting New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the sector is currently not getting recognition for this,” says Mr Harrison.
“We look forward to the Government not only taking into account the difference between short and long term greenhouse gases, but also the contribution sectors have made in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to date, and recognising existing on farm sequestration.”
For more information, please contact Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Senior Communications Advisor Gwynn Compton on 027 838 6353.