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


Key: Speech to opening of Global Research Alliance

Speech to opening of Global Research Alliance
Te Papa Tongarewa – Museum of New Zealand, Wellington

Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Alliance delegates, distinguished guests.

Welcome to New Zealand.

It gives me great pleasure to be opening this important meeting.

Just a few months ago the Global Research Alliance was an idea with a handful of backers.

Today, as I look around and see 28 member countries represented here in Wellington, it is clear that it is an idea whose time has come.

I’d also like to acknowledge the observers who are here. Your involvement is welcomed and represents an opportunity for us to take another step forward.

The Global Research Alliance was launched in Copenhagen in December. For me it was the highlight of what were often difficult and complex climate change negotiations.

New Zealand is pleased to be hosting a group that spans all the continents and includes both developed and developing countries.

We are here to face one of the defining challenges of the early 21st century – how to feed the world’s growing population while at the same time limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The mission and purpose of the Global Research Alliance is clear: to allow more food to be produced while reducing the emissions intensity of that process.

I’m not going to tell you that this mission will be easy to achieve, because it won’t be.

But by harnessing the collective talents of people in the Alliance countries, I believe there can be success.

I want to take just a few moments to talk about the scale of what we face.

First, the world’s population is growing. It is estimated that world food production will have to rise by 50 per cent by 2030 to meet increasing demand.

This is not just a big number somewhere way off in the future that we can ignore. This number represents food needed for real people. And it is only 20 years away.

Second, we must find ways to produce more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions.

Fourteen percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture and that number is projected to grow. In New Zealand, agriculture accounts for almost half of our emissions so this is an issue we know very well.

We have a highly unusual emissions profile for a developed country – no other developed country even comes close to having half of its emissions from agriculture.

But having a high proportion of emissions from agriculture is not so uncommon for developing countries – and many of those countries are represented in this room.

We must find ways to handle the huge increase in food production that the world will need while reducing the emissions intensity of food production.

That is the challenge before this group.

It is fair to say that food security has not been top of mind for the past couple of years. The global economic downturn and international efforts to agree a climate change framework have instead taken centre stage.

It’s also fair to say that the area of agriculture greenhouse gases has not been top of mind in terms of global climate change research.

Very few viable mitigation options have been identified for the agriculture sector, and those that do exist can be technically difficult to implement and sometimes temporary in effect.

By comparison, in the transport and energy sectors, governments and the private sector around the world have been hard at work developing green technologies.

I believe research into emissions from agriculture deserves, and needs, more time, money and coordination devoted to it.

Partly that is because I am a New Zealander.

As I said before, agriculture accounts for close to half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

That reflects the strength of the primary sector in this country. We are efficient at producing food and in particular at turning grass into valuable protein.

It also reflects how carbon friendly some of the other sectors of our economy are. For example, about 70 percent of our electricity is generated from renewable sources.

So you can see why, here in New Zealand, the issue of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions looms large in our minds. It is a big deal for us.

It is also an important area of research for us because we have something to offer.

We have a proud history of primary sector innovation, and one that belies our small population.

New Zealand pioneered refrigerated transport in the late 19th century, sending sheep carcasses to the other side of the world.

We also developed herring-bone milking sheds, used genomics to improve cow and sheep breeding rates, and worked on new pasture breeds and varieties to make our farms more and more efficient.

The Government is making significant funding available for research into greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

That includes the New Zealand Centre for Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research in Palmerston North, which you will have the opportunity to visit on Saturday.

This centre is supported by $50 million of Government funding over 10 years, on top of the $45 million we committed to the Alliance in December last year.

So I am pleased that New Zealand is able to offer something to this Alliance.

However it will be only one offering amongst many, many others.

Our countries all bring something to the table. The point of this Alliance is recognising that it is through collaboration, and by pooling our expertise, that we can get results.

Just look around. We have scientists and policy makers here from many of the world’s major countries.

Together, you have access to an enormous pool of intellectual talent and science funding.

The first meeting of the Global Research Alliance is very important to maintaining the momentum we established at Copenhagen.

This Alliance is a work in progress. Obviously we all want to move forward as far as we can over the next few days, but we are not trying to resolve everything at this meeting.

Many of the delegations here will need to reflect on the outcome of this meeting before committing themselves. That is understood.

Flexibility is the order of the day.

There are too many examples of international negotiations in the fields of trade, security and climate change itself, running into gridlock.

This is the last thing we want or need.

The reality is that we have come together on a voluntary basis, based on a common view of the need to accelerate research in this area.

We’re in this together.

So on your journey home, I hope you will all be able to reflect on a solid and productive session here in Wellington.

A session that has taken the collective agricultural and research capability you represent a significant step closer to a future where the world can grow more food, with fewer emissions.

You have my best wishes as you come together for this meeting.

Thank you.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Todd Muller Needs To Own The Privacy Leak Scandal

Whenever a political scandal breaks, party leaders have two basic options. They can confess to being in boots and all, and try to brazen it out : nothing to see here, move on. This tended to be the John Key approach. Very hard to pull that off in this case, given that it involved violating the privacy of sick New Zealanders for party political gain.
The other option is to claim innocence of this terrible, no good, highly regrettable “error of judgement” and apologise profusely for the sins of others, while absolving your own good self of any responsibility. This has been Todd Muller’s chosen path.... More>>

Green Party: Unveils Clean Energy Plan

The Green Party is today unveiling part one of its plan for a fossil-fuel free Aotearoa, including an immediate ban on new industrial coal boilers. To ensure a just transition away from fossil-fuels, the Green Party’s Clean Energy Plan will: Establish a Clean ... More>>


National Departures: Press Statement From Michelle Boag

Today I am announcing that I have resigned my membership of the NZ National Party. The last few days have underscored for me the unhealthy relationship I have developed with politics. For 47 years, I have devoted much of my professional and personal ... More>>


Govt: Statement From Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters has announced he is taking a short stint of medical leave this week. More>>

Isolation: Government And Air NZ Agree To Manage Incoming Bookings

Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan ... More>>


Government: New Investment Creates Over 2000 Jobs To Clean Up Waterways

A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects ... More>>


Eenrgy & Environment: Snail Like Progress On Government Vehicle Emissions Targets

First published in Energy and Environment on June 2, 2020. The latest data on the Government’s attempts to reduce the emissions of its transport fleet show no discernible progress. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s data on reducing ... More>>

Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>


David Seymour: ACT Leader's Address To Election Campaign Launch - ASB Waterfront Theatre, 12 July 2020

Introduction Thank you very much. Elections in New Zealand – like everywhere - are a very special tradition, because they are driven by you. They’re an opportunity to change your future. If you think about it, the Government doesn’t do much. It ... More>>

Foreign Affairs: New Zealand To Review Relationship Settings With Hong Kong

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment ... More>>


Covid-19 Patient Info Leak: Hamish Walker - A Personal Statement And An Apology

I have spoken to National Party Leader Todd Muller and informed him that I passed to members of the media, by email, information containing Covid-19 patient details that was given to me by a source. I did this to expose the Government’s shortcomings ... More>>


Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>


Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels