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Global Alliance can find solutions, enhance rep.

17 December 2009

Global Alliance can find solutions and enhance reputation

The Green Party today welcomed the announcement that New Zealand will lead a Global Research Alliance for reducing climate change emissions from agriculture, adding that it is crucial to pursue science and ideas that enhance our clean green reputation.

“I am delighted that New Zealand is finally doing something serious about fighting climate change and reducing agricultural emissions,” said Green Party Climate Change and Agriculture spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons.

“We have argued for a long time that this is an area in which New Zealand can make a major difference.

“Climate change is a global problem so it is really important that this research is done to benefit all. We welcome the intention that the intellectual property resulting from the research will be used for the common good rather than private profit.”

Overnight the New Zealand-led Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases was launched in Copenhagen. New Zealand’s has pledged $45 million, joining 19 other countries including the United States, Canada, India, Japan, Australia and eight European countries.

“The success of this project will depend on the type of research that this project undertakes. It is vital that it focuses on science and ideas that enhance our clean green reputation and the wider environment,” said Ms Fitzsimons.

“Rushing headlong into genetic engineering and chemical quick-fix solutions would be foolishly short-sighted. In reducing emissions, we can and must avoid creating new environmental problems and threatening New Zealand’s reputation for sustainability and quality.”

“Being able to identify and measure sustainable practices that reduce emissions is a priority. We already know that selective breeding of live-stock and feed-crops can reduce methane emissions, and improved soil management can significantly reduce nitrous oxide. Finding ways to accurately measure these is a necessary step to ensure there can be international recognition and a financial incentive to implement them.”

Ms Fitzsimons said that the Green Party's Getting There report outlined one of the best ways to reduce agricultural emissions in New Zealand: to reduce dairy stocking rates, which can also cut on-farm input costs. She added that converting to organic production delivers a price premium that can improve profitability.

“Increased farm-forestry, as proposed in our recent Green New Deal package, can also help offset agricultural emissions.

“Sustainable agricultural solutions that use the best science and ideas will benefit other pressing environmental issues, such as water pollution, biodiversity loss and soil erosion, as well as enhance New Zealand’s clean green reputation.”

Further information:

For more information on simple steps New Zealand can take to fight climate change see:
- The Green Party’s Getting There programme at http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/big-affordable-climate-change-target-sight

- The Green New Deal Package at http://www.greens.org.nz/greennewdeal


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