Methane report shoots down ‘must be zero’ claims
Another research paper - this one from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment - shoots down the claims that New Zealand must reduce its livestock methane emissions to zero, Federated Farmers climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says.
The paper, based on modelling by Dr Andy Reisinger of the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, suggests that to ensure no additional warming effects beyond current levels, methane emissions would need to be reduced by 10-22 percent below 2016 levels by 2050, with further reductions by 2100.
"These are deeper estimated cuts than those suggested by Victoria University climate change researchers Professor Dave Frame and Dr Adrian Macey, who concluded there would be no additional warming as long as methane emissions are stable, or gently declining at about 0.4% per annum.
"But it’s good to have robust discussion and at least the research has a strong grounding in science, unlike the claims put about by some campaigners that reducing methane emissions to zero is the only acceptable path," Andrew said.
Even the scenario outlined in this new PCE paper would have a significant impact on New Zealand’s primary export earnings if pursued.
"The paper acknowledges that through breeding more efficient animals and improvements in farm management, the emissions intensity of New Zealand agricultural production has improved by about one percent per year over the last few decades.
"This highlights the importance of the ongoing work by researchers, and by farmers relentlessly pursuing efficiency gains," Andrew said.
"Federated Farmers looks forwards to the report due in September by the agriculture industry/government Biological Emissions Reference Group, which will summarise where we are at with the various mitigation research streams."