The New Zealand Government must argue for an agreement that emissions are managed based on the warming impact of greenhouse gases on the planet at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference later this year.
“We know that the GWP100 metric overstates the warming impact of methane when emissions are stable or falling, and therefore is unfit for the purpose of comparing long-lived and short-lived emissions,” says Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).
“New Zealand pastoral agricultural systems already provide a model for others to follow as our red meat has a greenhouse gas footprint that is among the lowest in the world, enhances biodiversity and has some of the highest animal welfare in the world.
“Because of this, we support the New Zealand Government taking a leadership position on agricultural climate change and suggest that a good place would be start would be an international coalition that recognises the short-lived nature of biogenic methane and manages it appropriately.”
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) will be held in the United Arab Emirates in November/December this year.
In the lead up to COP28, B+LNZ has lodged a submission with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to ensure farmers’ voices are heard in New Zealand’s negotiating mandate.
“While climate change policy that directly influences sheep and beef farmers is made at a domestic level, this is largely influenced by what is agreed internationally,” says McIvor.
“While we have concerns about domestic issues such as afforestation and what appropriate targets for methane should be, this particular consultation focusses on issues being negotiated at an international level.
“As the voice of New Zealand sheep and beef farmers, we need to ensure policy development does not unfairly disadvantage our sector.”
B+LNZ also wants the Government to push for recognition internationally that forestry offsets should not be used in place of meaningful cuts to long-lived gas emissions, especially when they impact food production.
Coming into COP28, key areas of focus for the global negotiations include the result of the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement which aims to assess the world’s progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement.
In 2025, countries will set their second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC2). The Paris Agreement requires each country to prepare a NDC, which sets out the emissions reductions that they are aiming to achieve.
Currently, these NDCs are mostly submitted as a Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2-e) using GWP100.
B+LNZ’s submission outlines what it believes the New Zealand negotiators should be focussing on at COP28. These are:
- Agreement on guidance for future Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC2) to be set by gas as well as GWP100 to provide greater clarity on warming impacts.
- Agreement for emissions to be managed based on their warming impact rather than using a GWP100 carbon dioxide equivalent.
- Recognition of the importance of ruminant agriculture for international food security.
- Recognition that New Zealand already provides a model for other countries to follow through its unsubsidised, economically efficient, sustainable red meat production.
- Recognition internationally that forestry offsets should not be used in place of meaningful cuts to long-lived gas emissions, especially when they impact food production.
- Recognition that if New Zealand wants to take a leadership position internationally on tackling agricultural greenhouse gases, we need to demonstrate that it can be done in a way that does not impact food production.
- That New Zealand should take a leadership position on agricultural greenhouse gases and work with likeminded others on issues such as GHG metrics.
- Agricultural trade reform (and in particular, reduction of environmentally harmful agricultural subsidies).
B+LNZ is a member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), who will be attending COP28 and advocating on our behalf.
Read the full submission (PDF, 810KB)
Read FAQs about B+LNZ’s submission (PDF, 148KB)
For more information, please contact B+LNZ’s Communications Advisor Abigail Delaney at 0272099891 or Abigail.Delaney@beeflambnz.com.