Industry body DairyNZ says the Climate Change Commission’s new report is a welcome acknowledgement of a split gas approach and that methane does not need to reduce to net zero.
DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle said the Commission’s science-based approach is ambitious and challenging for all of New Zealand and farming is no exception.
Dr Mackle said the Climate Change Commission proposals and underlying assumptions will be closely examined over the next few weeks, in particular the biogenic methane targets and advice on reducing stock numbers.
“The short-term 2030 and 2035 methane targets are ambitious, making the next 10-15 years the most important for adapting farm systems and investment in research and development solutions for agriculture,” said Dr Mackle.
“As a sector, we are committed to producing sustainable food and remaining the world’s most emissions efficient. So, like every kiwi playing their part in addressing climate change, dairy must play our part too.”
Dr Mackle said it is encouraging to see the Commission’s recommendations to Government to focus on R&D and rural broadband as solutions to support agriculture to reduce emissions.
“Climate policy is incredibly complex. Yes, science sits at its core – but there are also economic, social and political implications to be considered,” said Dr Mackle.
“We will be looking at what this advice could mean for dairy farmers and how the Government will partner to support our sector through this transition. This report emphasises the need for all New Zealanders to work to reduce their footprint whether that be on the farm, on the roads, or in our homes.
“New Zealand dairy farmers are already the world’s most emissions efficient, so it’s a balance between farming sustainably, maintaining international competitiveness and running a viable business.
“Our farmers have already started making practice changes on-farm, along with introducing Farm Environment Plans. We will continue to push into this and leverage science and technology to support us on the journey.”
DairyNZ invests around $1 million a year into climate change emissions reduction research, mainly through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, and works closely with the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC).
DairyNZ is also a partner in the primary sector-Government partnership, He Waka Eke Noa, which is a framework for measuring, managing and reducing emissions.
Dr Mackle said DairyNZ will be developing a submission on behalf of its levy paying farmers.