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Agriculture Must Pull its Weight on Climate Change

Agriculture Must Pull its Weight on Climate Change

Auckland, 18 December, 2006: Greenpeace today called on the agriculture sector to play its part in addressing climate change as the Government released its proposals for dealing with the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and forestry.

"The agriculture sector has so far refused to play its part in tackling climate change, but is quick to seek publicly-funded bail-outs after extreme weather events. It's now time for the agriculture sector to pull its weight," said climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.

"The Government's approach to the climate change impacts of agriculture should focus on reducing emissions, but this paper emphasises helping the agriculture sector to adapt to climate change," she said.

"There are solutions to agricultural emissions - improving the quality of feed given to livestock increases the quantity of milk or meat production and can also reduce methane production by 10%, according to studies in Canada. Lowering nitrogen-based fertilizer use is also key and farmers can play in important role by harnessing renewable energy on their farms and improving energy efficiency and conservation."

"Reducing emissions in the agriculture sector may require a reduction in stock levels in favour of more climate-friendly forms agriculture. Developing more efficient cows and sheep is likely to be insufficient on its own or may not be fast enough to get the 20-30 cuts in greenhouse emissions needed by 2020 to avoid very dangerous climate change impacts. The Government and agriculture sector needs to face up to this," she said.

"The recent food miles debate shows that overseas consumers are looking more closely at New Zealand's environmental performance. The agriculture sector will lose markets unless it does its part," she concluded.

ENDS

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