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Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions are Farmers' Problem

Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions are the Farmers' Problem

Climate Change Policy A Little Improved But Still Lacking
Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions are the Farmers' Problem

Press Release Environmental Defence Society

Federated Farmers view that research on animal methane emissions is for "public benefit" shows an extraordinary insensitivity to their own future says the Environmental Defence Society.

Society climate spokesperson Garry Law said, "their own argument about the importance of agriculture to the nation's economy would have made them think some more.

"Of the sectors in New Zealand society they are the one most at risk from climate change. Reducing climate change is not just for some general public benefit - it is vital to the future of New Zealand's and the world's agriculture.

"New Zealand farms make a massive contribution to New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions. Yet they have been excused tax on their emissions at the rate other emitters will pay. The reasons for this were sound, but it was not a permanent concession - it was to buy time while solutions could be researched. As greenhouse gas emissions limits tighten in future, the farming sector will have to reduce as well. The rest of the economy will not be able to carry them. They should be finding out how to reduce now.

"Their view that the research tax was not in the global interest is based on the small contribution of New Zealand's emisisons to the world's total. Yet New Zealand is right up there with the developed nations in emissions for the size of our economy or population. No-one in that position can free-ride without it having a consequence in the long term and that may be trade barriers.

"Farmers are also overstating the offsetting contribution made to carbon sinks by forest lots on farms. They go no where near balancing the methane emissions from ruminant animals, said Mr Law. But EDS thinks farmers with forest lots should be getting a reward for new carbon credits they are creating.

"They failed in the first round of policy making on that issue. We don't think the matter is closed. They should try again, said Mr Law.

Garry Law

EDS Climate Change Coordinator

glaw@lawas.co.nz

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