Greenpeace Aotearoa says the Labour Party’s Climate Manifesto, launched today, reads like a shopping list of condiments that has missed off the main meal: action on New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter, intensive dairy.
"There are many commendable elements in the Labour Party’s first Climate Manifesto, but we can’t avert the climate crisis if political leaders continue to ignore the cow in the room," says Greenpeace Climate Campaigner, Christine Rose.
Rose says that the Climate Manifesto takes a step forward in its support for rooftop solar, safe walking and cycling, better public transport and a focus on gross emissions reductions. However, these policies don’t address the biggest sources of emissions.
Big Dairy is New Zealand’s worst climate polluter - and dairy cattle produce around a quarter of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, especially the superheating gases methane and nitrous oxide.
"Instead of taking real action on New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter, Labour’s Climate Manifesto proposes more funding for magical silver-bullet technofixes; a further partnership with the rural sector to negotiate their own emissions pricing - despite the failure of He Waka Eke Noa; and carbon credits for trees and vegetation which may not be scientifically valid.
"What we need to see is a commitment to reduce Big Dairy climate pollution through herd reduction, a phase out of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and support for a shift to growing low-emissions food that works with instead of against nature.
"We have too many cows and too much synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. Business as usual plus technofixes won’t solve the problem of big dairy climate pollution. Inaction on New Zealand’s worst climate polluter is inherently unjust and should be a key component of any credible climate plan".
In its policy announcement, Labour has taken aim at National for proposing to bring back offshore oil and gas drilling. The ban was a significant achievement from the 2018 Labour-led Government, which followed nearly a decade of campaigning by hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.
Rose says "The Labour Party Climate Manifesto is certainly better than a policy of reversing important climate wins, which is what we are seeing from the National Party so far. But what’s needed to address this existential climate crisis is bold leadership. And Labour hasn’t delivered that today."
Greenpeace, alongside more than fifty other organisations, launched a ten-point plan for climate action called Climate Shift. The plan has been supported by more than 15,000 petitioners and calls for urgent climate action from all political parties in the lead-up to the 2023 election.