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Climate Emergency Fund Misses The Mark On Agriculture

Greenpeace Aotearoa says the Government’s announcement today of a mediocre ‘Climate Emergency Response Fund’ makes a start, but is no substitute for action to tackle the country’s biggest polluter, industrial agriculture.

Greenpeace’s agriculture campaigner Christine Rose says "The budget allocation to the ‘Climate Emergency Response Fund’ is nowhere near what is needed to address the climate crisis. It is also funded from the Emissions Trading Scheme - which excludes agriculture, meaning the country’s biggest polluters aren’t paying towards the transition to a cleaner Aotearoa. Agriculture needs to fully join the ETS - as otherwise intensive dairy isn’t paying its fair share."

"The Government’s announcement includes funds already allocated to international aid, so there is only $500 million a year for capital spending, and $300 million for the operating costs of new schemes. For contrast, the Government’s Covid Response and Recovery Fund is $57 billion. This Climate Emergency Response Fund was an opportunity to make the bold investment needed to reduce emissions and transform Aotearoa. Unfortunately, this funding barely scratches the surface of the investment that is needed for a safe climate future.

"At COP26, the Government’s Nationally Determined Contribution announcement committed to paying other countries not to pollute to the tune of $1.5 billion to offset our own emissions - more than three times the annual capital spend today’s announcement allows. This is a cop-out - we have a duty and the ability to reduce emissions here at home, yet the government refuses to do what is needed and what is right."

Rose says that the country’s most essential climate policy is a phase-out of the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer which drives intensive dairy. "Agriculture contributes half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, and phasing out the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser which fuels unsustainable agriculture is the most effective way to reduce emissions - this is the climate announcement we sorely need."

Greenpeace utterly rejects Climate Change Minister James Shaw’s statement today that this fund "has been made possible only because of the changes we made to the ETS that now mean our largest polluters are finally paying a proper price for their climate pollution". Rose maintains that "at the moment, industrial dairying is paying no price for their climate pollution. And so far the only proposed tool on the table is the industry-proposed ‘He Waka Eke Noa’. Under that approach, industrial agriculture would pay for less than 1% of their emissions. That is simply not fair for the climate or for people."

 

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