Climate change and the need for countries to measure methane more accurately were high on the agenda during Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) recent trips to the United Kingdom and United States.
During the visits, B+LNZ staff identified opportunities to work with UK and US farming groups over the shared issue of climate change.
B+LNZ has been calling for the New Zealand Government to review the methane targets using a more appropriate metric such as GWP*, and to report on warming as well as emissions, for more than two years.
GWP* scales emissions over time, and better accounts for the different warming behaviours of short-lived gases like methane than the widely used GWP100 metric, which the IPCC has confirmed overstates the impact of methane when emissions are not increasing (as is the case in New Zealand).
B+LNZ Chairman Andrew Morrison, General Manager for Policy and Advocacy Dave Harrison, Farmer Director Northern South Island and Deputy Chair Kate Acland and Chief Executive Sam McIvor made the journey to the UK.
During the trip, B+LNZ facilitated a meeting with counterparts from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
Representatives from Quality Meat Scotland, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, National Farmers' Union of England and Wales, Ulster Farmers' Union and the National Sheep Association attended the gathering in Leamington Spa.
The focus of the meeting was to understand the impact of climate change policy on the respective agriculture sectors and identify opportunities to jointly advocate for a more appropriate metric for measuring agricultural emissions internationally.
“We discussed our shared challenges around climate change, and it was apparent that using the right metric, like GWP*, was extremely important regardless of where in the world you’re farming,” said Morrison.
“It’s important for us all to be aligned and understand that we need an appropriate metric to assess the impact of livestock on warming accurately.”
Morrison and Harrison also made B+LNZ‘s first trip to the US in almost two-and-a-half years due to the pandemic. They visited Washington DC and Denver to reengage with key industry stakeholders.
In Denver, Colin Woodall, Chief Executive Officer of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), reiterated the importance of GWP* to the global beef community.
Representatives from the NCBA, North American Meat Institute and Meat Importers Council of America were also interested in the progress of He Waka Eke Noa as a tool to measure, manage and reduce emissions.
Harrison spoke on what the initiative meant for New Zealand’s farmers and how the programme was progressing.
The importance of a collective effort to adopt a more appropriate metric for agricultural warming ahead of November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference was also discussed.
“It was clear that sustainability is at the forefront of the agricultural sectors in the UK and US,” said Harrison.
“Both trips were hugely beneficial. This is a global effort, it doesn’t matter which country or continent you farm on, it is crucial that we all use the right metric, like GWP*.”