A new report released today by the Ministry for the Environment highlights how the climate crisis is already affecting Aotearoa, and underscores the need for urgent action on New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter, agribusiness, says Greenpeace.
Our Atmosphere and Climate 2020 report details impacts of the climate crisis being felt around the country, including increases in average winter temperature across all 30 sites surveyed, and increases in average summer temperature at 28 sites.
The report also found changes to weather patterns, such as increases in extreme rainfall, heatwave days, and dry spell days at some sites. The Ministry for the Environment reports that the worsening of these conditions in future is likely to affect human health, Māori cultural identity, primary industries and more.
Greenpeace Executive Director Russel Norman says that the report lays out the urgent need for all future governments to tackle emissions from agribusiness.
"This report shows what so many New Zealanders already know: the climate crisis is on our doorstep and is affecting our lives," says Norman.
"Industrial dairying is New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter. For too long, successive governments have avoided acknowledging this glaring fact.
"The next government must phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser - itself a huge source of greenhouse gas nitrous oxide - reduce cow numbers, bring agribusiness into the Emissions Trading Scheme, and support farmers to move towards regenerative farming."
Agribusiness is responsible for 48% of New Zealand’s total emissions. The use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, used to promote rapid grass growth, has increased 627% since 1990.
Norman says that as New Zealand is the world’s biggest dairy exporter, decisive government action to curb agribusiness emissions could see the sector influencing agribusiness practises globally.
"The climate crisis is only going to make life harder for farmers. We need bold and decisive action from our next government to cut synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and shift Aotearoa to resilient, climate-friendly farming methods."