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Kyoto and ETS: NZ acts globally by farming locally


9 December 2008

Kyoto and ETS: New Zealand acts globally by farming locally

“New Zealand must ensure its world leadership in low emission farming is reflected in the next phase of Kyoto and the policies that follow,” said Don Nicolson, Federated Farmer’s president and trade spokesperson.

“We saw two significant moves yesterday to correct Kyoto’s errors and the policy response New Zealand has so far adopted.

“First the new Trade Minister, the Hon. Tim Groser, departed for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poland. Incredible as it sounds, it will actually be the first time agriculture and has been put on the Kyoto table.

“Federated Farmers unambiguous message for Mr Groser is that the next phase of Kyoto must not capture emissions generated by farm animals. Without the food and fibre of these animals the human race cannot survive and if Kyoto ends up increasing the price of food, people will die.

“We do however welcome the appointment of United Future leader and Minster of Revenue, the Hon. Peter Dunne, as chair of the select committee that will review the ETS. This is about policies that work for the global climate and for New Zealand. Peter Dunne knows that.

“Climate change is a global issue and it demands global solutions. New Zealand’s farmers act globally by farming locally. That’s how we are able to feed almost one percent of the world but generate only a tenth of that in emissions. This efficiency must be the starting point for negotiations.

“Look at it like this. Germany is considered one of the greenest countries in Europe yet its agricultural system emits a massive 3.5 times the emissions our farms do. Despite it being such a major producer of greenhouse gases it is one of the least efficient agricultural producers.

“We don’t build cars but what New Zealand does better than almost anyone else is using water to grow grass and turning that grass into protein. We are a climate change force for good in a world that desperately needs more food, not less. We look forward to Mr Groser making the case for farm animal emissions to be excluded from Kyoto.

The Federation expressed concern at the way New Zealand emissions profile is reported and ‘spun’ by the so-called green movement. While agricultural emissions account for 50% of New Zealand’s emissions profile, the sector is responsible for 64% of all export earnings. In world terms, New Zealand’s agriculture emissions profile represents a mere 0.1% of global emissions. The Federation wished to see scale and context put into the climate change response debate relative to other countries. This is a debate New Zealand needs to have and farmers welcome it.

“The green movement has more logical holes than Swiss cheese. They laud ‘Buy Kiwi Made’ but wish to kneecap New Zealand’s premier export industry. They ask for global solutions but can’t accept New Zealand farmers, being the world’s most efficient, deliver exactly that.

“The green movement want an ETS except they want an efficiency trading scheme that would shift production from New Zealand to less efficient countries. Isn’t that worse for the world?

“Simply put, the second commitment period of Kyoto must exclude farm animal emissions as this goes to the very basics of life. Food. This second commitment period and our ETS must reward New Zealand for acting globally by farming locally,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

ENDS

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