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Ministers welcome PCE report on agricultural emissions

Hon Paula Bennett

Minister for Climate Change Issues

Hon Nathan Guy

Minister for Primary Industries


19 October 2016

Ministers welcome PCE report on agricultural emissions

A new report provides a robust and objective examination of how emissions from agriculture are created, as well as options for reducing them, Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said today.

The ministers have welcomed the report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

“Dr Wright’s report is consistent with the Government’s view that mitigation of greenhouse gases from agriculture is difficult and requires a multi-pronged approach,” says Mrs Bennett. “Dr Wright is correct that there is no silver bullet.”

“Agricultural emissions make up 49 per cent of New Zealand’s gross emissions. Reducing them while growing our economy is a difficult challenge, but one we must solve.

“For that reason we recently established the Biological Emissions Reference Group to work with the sector to build an objective and agreed understanding of what can be done to reduce agricultural emissions. The Commissioner has provided some useful ideas for the Group to consider further.”

Mr Guy says that Dr Wright’s report highlights that this issue is not as simple as whether agriculture is in or out of the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) – it requires a broader discussion than that.

“For example, planting the right trees, in the right place, at the right time can buy us time to find options to reduce biological emissions from agriculture. The Government is supporting these efforts through the Afforestation Grant Scheme, the Erosion Control Funding Programme and the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change research programme.

“The Government is also investing $20 million a year in research into developing new mitigation options like a vaccine to reduce emissions from agriculture, which is a very promising long term option.

“We’re grateful to Dr Wright for her thoughtful and accessible report. We’re pleased she has recognised that our farmers are already amongst the most productive and efficient in the world. Over the past 20 years, they have improved the emissions efficiency of production by approximately 1% per year by improving feed and nutrition, animal genetics, pasture management and animal health.

“We look forward to the Biological Emissions and Forestry Reference Groups building on the Commissioner’s work.”

ends

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