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Opportunities Not all they are Cracked up to be

5 June 2002 PR 071/02

Opportunities Not all they are Cracked up to be

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc.) Vice President Tom Lambie has called for a reality check in claims by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development of opportunities in the reduction of methane emissions from livestock.

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) released earlier today the report "Climate Change Business Opportunities." The report is a high-level examination of business opportunities where there is an increased need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Ruminant animals such as sheep and cattle have evolved over a very long time into highly complex biological systems. Any moves to affect their digestive system will have complex and uncertain biological outcomes. The reduction of methane emissions from livestock is a lot more complicated than most people probably realise."

"Also, if we are to look seriously at reducing methane emissions then we also need to look very closely at the available technologies including genetic modification."

"The assertion that New Zealand's high proportion of agricultural emissions gives it an advantage over other countries does not stack up. Where New Zealand faces a strong imperative to reduce livestock emissions, other countries around the world have little or no reason to reduce their livestock emissions using NZ-developed solutions. Furthermore most scientists indicate any research results are at best 10 -20 years away. This is hardly surprising given the complexity of the system

Approximately 55% of New Zealand's emissions come from agriculture. Globally however agriculture accounts for less than 10% of emissions.

"Federated Farmers applauds the efforts of the NZBCSD to identify business opportunities flowing from the Kyoto Protocol, but we ask that in future the NZBCSD takes a realistic view of the opportunities." Mr Lambie concluded.

ENDS

For more information: Tom Lambie Ph 027 230 2414 Jacob Haronga Ph 04 473 7269

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