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Past Time To Address The Cow In The Room: Government Must Take Drastic Steps To Reducing Emissions From Agriculture

Animal rights organisation SAFE is urging the new Government to take seriously warnings about the urgent need to reduce methane from farmed animals, to limit damage to human and animal health.

The latest report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) released at COP28 on Friday night New Zealand time, says reducing the methane emitted by animals used in agriculture needs to fall 11-30% off 2010 levels by 2030.

This reduction is said to be "essential to limit the global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, preferably less than 1.5 degrees Celsius."

SAFE Campaigns Manager Emma Brodie says New Zealand now has a responsibility to address our dependence on animal agriculture to protect New Zealand’s environment, animals and people from the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

"The new Government has not outlined any meaningful plan to reduce emissions in agriculture, opting instead to talk about winding back progressive policies under the misguided premise of repairing the economy."

"Animal agriculture will only become an increasingly volatile sector. If we’re going to talk about future-proofing New Zealand’s economy, the Government needs to take bolder action to reduce intensive dairy production altogether," says Brodie.

Per capita, New Zealand is one of the highest emitters of methane globally.

Emissions from agriculture make up 48 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from the dairy sector, sheep and beef cattle. While methane is a short-lived greenhouse gas, it is potent, with a warming potential more than 28 times that of carbon dioxide.

"Of course, steps to transition away from fossil fuels is incredibly important, but it’s not enough. The Government simply has to begin investing in pathways that allow farmers to transition away from animal agriculture."

"It’s time for New Zealand to become a global leader in this space, and embrace a future where our primary industries push us forward, rather than hold us back."

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