Wednesday, 21 August 2019 13:55

Climate report gives much needed detail

Written by  Pam Tipa
DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle. DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle.

The latest IPCC Special Report has the potential to turn the way we look at climate change on its head, says DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle.

It highlights the challenges of providing sustainable food for a growing population and says animal sourced food from sustainable systems has a role to play.

The IPCC Special Report, released this month, is a “welcome contribution” to the developing debate on climate, says Mackle.

New Zealand in 2015 co-sponsored a proposal for a Special Report on Climate Change, Food and Agriculture. 

“The 2019 report has arrived at an opportune time as NZ works out how to play its part in tackling climate change and what it might mean for our agricultural sector and our economy,” Mackle says.

“In October 2018, the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming by 1.5°C turned on its head the way policymakers viewed climate change. 

“This new report has the potential to do the same as it highlights some of the challenges and opportunities of providing sustainable food for a growing global population,” says Mackle. 

The world’s population is forecast by the United Nations to grow from 7.7 billion now to 9.7b by 2050. 

“As world leaders in the efficient production of high quality, nutritious, pasture based, low emissions milk, NZ has a huge role to play in showing what a sustainable system can deliver.

“The report highlights how much the science is still developing, especially in agricultural emissions, which again demonstrates that a prudent approach for NZ is needed.

“DairyNZ is fully behind playing our part on climate change and supporting our farmers to take action. We need to take some time, however, to fully digest this report and how it might be applied in a NZ context.”

The report recommends ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change, many already happening, eg planting trees, maintaining good soil carbon and low input, well managed grazing.   

Agriculture and livestock farming have a role to play in addressing climate change, the report says. It identifies sustainably produced livestock products from sustainable, low greenhouse gas emission farming systems as helping solve the problem.

“Balanced diets [could contain] plant based foods such as those based on coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal sourced food produced in resilient, sustainable and low-GHG emission systems.”

The deputy director of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, Dr Andy Reisinger, says the report shows NZ is not alone in the challenges it faces. 

“Many of the issues, eg how to reduce emissions, make our land more resilient to climate change and how to achieve the best outcomes across the landscape are shared by governments worldwide. That’s why they asked the IPCC to prepare this report.

“A key message from the report for me is the need for integrated responses that comprise not just how we produce food but stretch across the food and energy system. This is critical to improve resilience globally and to ensure we use land in a way that can feed people and reduce net emissions.”

The report doesn’t tell us what NZ’s role should be globally but it tells us what to keep an eye on in the bigger picture, he says.

More like this

Featured

 

An exercise in futility

Former Fonterra Shareholders Council (SHC) chair and Waipu farmer Simon Couper puts his views on why the recent review of the council’s functions was a futile exercise.

Top student off to co-op

Massey University's top agricultural student for 2020 is off to join Fonterra and continue his interest and passion for the dairy industry.

National

Machinery & Products

Let aura feed the mob

In a move that appears to have been repeated by many equipment manufacturers, Kuhn confirms it currently working on several…

Battery charger range recharged

Projecta's popular ‘Charge N’ Maintain’ automatic battery charger range has now been recharged – with the introduction of new features…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Eyes have it

OPINION: Painting eyes on the backsides of cows could save their lives, according to new research by Australian scientists.

Walkers versus cows

OPINION: A North Yorkshire teacher has become at least the second member of the public to be trampled to death…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter