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Research agenda for agriculture & climate change

A research agenda for agriculture and climate change

International researchers are meeting in Christchurch today at a workshop to establish research priorities for New Zealand to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

The workshop, hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Australian Greenhouse Office, also aims to identify opportunities for research cooperation between New Zealand and Australia. "This workshop is an important step in New Zealand's response to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change," said the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson.

"No other developed country has a greater need than New Zealand for practical and measurable ways to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Agricultural non-CO2 gases – methane and nitrous oxide – make up about 55 percent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions. This combined with the vital importance of agriculture to our economy means we need practical mitigation technologies available to farmers."

The government's climate change policy exempts agricultural non-CO2 emissions from a carbon charge that will apply from 2007/08, but calls for the sector to invest in research into reducing those emissions.

"New Zealand has some of the best understanding of the agricultural non-CO2 greenhouse gases in the world and is well placed to contribute to further research," Mr Hodgson said. "I have been urging people in agriculture for some time now to start gearing up some research consortiums."

Mr Hodgson said New Zealand would commit significant resources over at least the next decade to identifying, researching, developing and disseminating technologies that reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

The results of the workshop, which runs for two days, will inform the development of a national research strategy for agricultural non-CO2 emissions.

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