Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


NZ dragging the chain on climate change

15 December 2008

NZ dragging the chain on climate change

New Zealand could be a world leader on finding ways to feed the world without changing the climate, instead of dragging the chain as we have done at the Poznan climate negotiations, the Green Party says.

Associate Climate Change Minister Tim Groser doesn't seem to understand that the purpose of the Kyoto protocol is to change the way we do business to reduce emissions, not to make farming and industry pay money. If it becomes just an extra cost to business as usual, the treaty will have failed, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Instead of arguing that agriculture is a special case, countries like New Zealand, which rely heavily on agriculture, should be looking for different ways of farming.

"It is essential to maintain food production, and Groser is right that developing countries will not accept climate change commitments if it means their people will starve - but that is not the alternative.

"It is possible to feed the world and reduce climate changing emissions by feeding less grain to animals and more to people; by producing more poultry and pigs and less beef and dairy; by reducing stocking intensity and the use of nitrogen fertilisers; by managing wet soil conditions in a healthier way; and by developing new grasses and other cattle feeds which produce less methane.

"Surely there are enough ways forward here to have a real effect by 2013 when the next climate agreement should come into force?

"Currently most of the grain produced is fed to animals, creating both a shortage of grain for people, and high methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the animals. The world also needs protein, and increasingly demands animal protein, but here too there are options. Providing animal protein from poultry and pigs has much lower emissions as they are not ruminants.

"Even dairy products and beef/sheep meat do not have to produce such high emissions. Less intensive dairying without nitrogen fertilisers, and better soil management in wet conditions can greatly reduce nitrous oxide emissions. Sheep farmers with less productive back country can profitably plant some of it in either permanent forest sinks or production forestry. Research is underway, and needs more funding, to find alternative feeds, such as high sugar grasses, for cattle to reduce emissions and increase productivity.

"Instead of denying reality, which is that our agricultural emissions change climate just as much as our use of fossil fuels, it is time to focus on ways of feeding the world without changing the climate," she says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>




Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election