Parliamentary Commissioner shows the way on climate change

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s comprehensive report “Farms, Forests and Fossil Fuels” shows the clear way forward for New Zealand on climate change.
Tuesday, 26 March 2019

“The report sets out the science and the steps we must take based on that science to tackle climate change,” said Andrew Morrison, Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

B+LNZ and the whole livestock sector are committed to reducing biogenic greenhouse gas emissions in line with their warming impact. The Commissioner’s previous report identified a 10-22 percent range for methane reduction in order for the sector to achieve the equivalent of net carbon zero. The sheep and beef sector have committed to moving towards carbon neutral at the farm gate by 2050.

“The Commissioner’s report identifies the important difference between biogenic and fossil-fuel sourced greenhouse gases (GHGs). Both must be reduced, but fossil-fuel sourced GHGs have a permanent warming effect. We need early, deep and permanent cuts in fossil-fuel sourced gases,” added Mr Morrison.

“Farmers are committed to owning their own issues and tackling their own impact on the climate. The sheep sector has already shown the way, by reducing emissions intensity and absolute emissions by more 30 percent since 1990, while maintaining production. Other parts of the livestock sector are committed to playing their part”, said Mr Morrison.

The Commissioner’s report recommends changes to the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), so that fossil-fuel GHGs can no longer be offset by planting trees; but recommends that biogenic GHGs should be able to be offset. This is because there is match between the temporary (but still significant) warming of biogenic emissions and the timescales of native and plantation forestry sequestration.

“The Commissioner has recommended a science-based approach which fits with the principle of each sector being responsible for its own emissions, and for tackling them. Different sectors should not be able to off-load the impact of their emissions onto other sectors. It is essential that policy drives the right kinds of behaviours for fossil-fuel and biogenic greenhouse gases; to do this policy must reflect the differences between those gases and how they can be effectively mitigated,” added Mr Morrison.

“It is now essential that Ministers considering the shape of the Zero Carbon Bill, and members of the Interim Climate Change Committee and the future Climate Change Commission, take the Parliamentary Commissioner’s findings into account when setting policy. It is vital for the planet and our collective future that policy is based on sound science that will have a real and lasting impact on reducing warming; enabling us to keep warming below 1.5C,” concluded Mr Morrison.

ENDS

For more information please contact Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Senior Communications Advisor Gwynn Compton on 027 838 6353.