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Greenpeace Supports Climate Commission Call For Action On Synthetic Nitrogen Fertiliser

6 July: Greenpeace Aotearoa is commending the Climate Change Commission for acknowledging that synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, which produces twice the emissions of domestic aviation, should be priced at the manufacturer and producer level.Greenpeace lead agriculture campaigner Christine Rose says "Chemical companies Ravensdown and Ballance are the importers and manufacturers of one of this country’s worst climate polluters - synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. Greenpeace has long advocated for this climate killer to be managed at source."

Industrial agriculture is responsible for half of New Zealand’s climate pollution and intensive dairy alone is responsible for half of that. Much of this climate pollution is caused directly or indirectly by synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, which enables excessive cow numbers.

The Climate Change Commission’s advice on agricultural emissions released today recommends that the Government should price synthetic nitrogen fertiliser emissions at the manufacturer and importer level in the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme as soon as practical, instead of within a farm-level pricing system.

"Greenpeace and 48,000 New Zealanders have been calling for central government to phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. The acknowledgement from the Climate Change Commission that urgent action is required on this climate polluter is overdue but welcome", says Rose.

"Agriculture should be brought completely into the existing Emissions Trading Scheme as that’s the most efficient and equitable way of dealing with emissions, putting all climate polluters on a level playing field."

"The agri-industry’s alternative, He Waka Eke Noa, is still a lemon," says Rose.

The Climate Change Commission’s report acknowledges significant work would be required to achieve He Waka Eke Noa goals and has ‘low confidence’ it will be met on time. It needs IT systems, administration, compliance, enforcement and regulations to be developed. Its success is undermined by difficulties perceived by and a lack of buy-in from farmers, according to the Commission.

On the other hand, the Climate Change Commission has high confidence that there are few barriers to implementing processor-level emissions pricing as part of the NZ ETS.’ Rose says: "The Climate Change Commission’s recommendations add weight to Greenpeace’s call to urgently phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. Phasing out this climate killer is the number one priority."

"The government needs to reject He Waka Eke Noa itself which is simply a failed attempt at diverting responsibility away from intensive dairying, and as the Commission says He Waka Eke Noa will not be practical to implement by its own deadline."

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