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Media Release

Review of methane contribution a step in the right direction

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has welcomed Climate Change Minister James Shaw’s request to the Climate Change Commission (CCC) to review and provide advice to the Government on New Zealand’s international greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Friday, 24 April 2020

“The Climate Change Commission is best placed to ensure there’s consistency between New Zealand’s international and domestic targets, and to provide scientifically-sound, depoliticised advice to the Government.  We support Minister Shaw’s request to the Commission,” says B+LNZ’s Environment Policy Manager Dylan Muggeridge. 

“The Government took a world leading split-gas approach to the Zero Carbon Act and we ask that the Commission consider if New Zealand’s international target should be recommunicated as a split-gas target. “

B+LNZ is also encouraged that the Minister has asked the Commission to take a specific look at the reductions required from biogenic methane emissions. While B+LNZ supported the ground-breaking split-gas approach taken in the Zero Carbon Act, there are still issues with New Zealand’s methane targets not being in line with the latest science.

“Sheep and beef farmers are absolutely committed to playing their part in responding to climate change. Beef + Lamb New Zealand ultimately wants to ensure that the targets set in legislation support delivering absolute reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, in particular fossil fuel emissions, in order to meet New Zealand’s international commitments. This needs to be done in a way that supports the wellbeing of New Zealand and all New Zealanders, including those contributing to our food production sector and our rural communities.

“With the Commission having essentially been provided with a clean sheet to examine the latest available scientific evidence on biogenic methane and to reflect New Zealand’s circumstances when providing this advice, we’re looking forward to their consideration of new and more accurate methodologies for calculating the global warming potential (GWP) of methane through the University of Oxford’s GWP*.”

B+LNZ is also encouraging Minister Shaw to go a step further and request a formal review of the Zero Carbon Act targets as allowed under the act, which the Minister said he was going to do after the Act was passed.

“Our farmers want certainty. They need any targets and policies to be informed by the most up-to-date science available to provide them with this certainty. We’ve already seen in recent weeks that a new and more accurate way of measuring nitrous oxide emissions for sheep, beef cattle and dairy cows on hill country has led to a significant reduction in those emissions which illustrates how important using the latest and most accurate science available is.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand looks forward to working constructively with the Climate Change Commission as it conducts its review and develops recommendations to the Government.”

ENDS

For more information please contact B+LNZ’s Senior Communications Advisor Gwynn Compton on 027 838 6353

Notes for editors:

More details on AgResearch’s study can be found on the AgResearch website: https://www.agresearch.co.nz/news/hill-country-farm-emissions-drop/

In March 2020, B+LNZ joined 15 other agricultural and rural sector organisations across New Zealand and the United Kingdom to call on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to evaluation the more accurate GWP metric of GWP*: https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/agricultural-organisations-unite-call-ipcc-consider-gwpgwp-we-greenhouse-gas-emissions