Auckland November 4 2008 - Greenpeace has challenged Federated Farmers to tell consumers in its high yield export markets that it doesn't give a toss about climate change.
"Federated Farmers has released a manifesto calling for a renegotiation of both Kyoto and New Zealand's emissions trading scheme, to exclude farm animal emissions," said Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer. "In other words, it wishes to take no responsibility for the fact the sector makes up a large and growing proportion of emissions both here and internationally.
"It would be interesting to see what consumers in our key markets in Europe, who care deeply about climate change, think of this attitude. We challenge Fed Farmers to send its manifesto to the product purchasing managers at UK supermarkets, who're already promoting carbon labelling.
"Meanwhile we already know how New Zealanders feel about picking up the bill for agriculture's emissions.
"Fed Farmers argues that current climate change policies will impact adversely on agriculture's competitiveness, but the opposite is true. If our farming sector leaves its head in the sand for much longer over climate change, New Zealand will lost its marketing advantage over international competitors.
"Being clean and green is starting to count when a product hits shelves overseas and all our exporters should be doing everything they can to corner and monopolize that high end of the market. New Zealand farming's greenhouse gas emissions performance is already uncomfortably close to that of the UK. We're at huge risk of future market erosion."
Mr Boxer said New Zealand has no choice but to deal with its agricultural emissions, which makes up half of all New Zealand's emissions.
"We'll lose all credibility internationally if we fail to address our biggest emitter."
He also said that Federated Farmers' stance was not reflective off the attitude of many New Zealand farmers. "Greenpeace has been working hard with some very progressive farmers to find solutions to on-farm emissions. And contrary to what Fed Farmers President Don Nicholson says, solutions do exist."
See www.greenpeace.org.nz/smartfarming for how New Zealand farmers can reduce emissions.
Greenpeace is calling for agriculture to be brought into the ETS before 2013, and for New Zealand to set an overall emission reduction target of 30% by 2020.