fbpx
Print this page
Tuesday, 21 May 2019 10:32

Nats stunned by methane target

Written by  David Anderson
National’s climate change spokesman Todd Muller. National’s climate change spokesman Todd Muller.

National's climate change spokesman Todd Muller says the proposed target for methane reduction puts the New Zealand agricultural sector at “real risk”.

Muller has spent the best part of 12 months negotiating with Climate Change Minister James Shaw to get a workable, bi-partisan deal on agricultural emissions. He told Rural News the proposed methane targets are “widely overdone” and set an “unjustifiable target” for the NZ farming sector.

“There is a body of credible advice – such as recently from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) and Victoria University’s David Frame – that advocates far more sensible targets for methane,” he says.

“Why James Shaw has just plucked this number from an IPPC report – which is hugely profound in the 26-47% range – is beyond me.”

Muller says he was surprised by the methane targets and was given no indication of this until just before they were announced. He says his discussion with Shaw over the past year had been constructive and he was hoping for a more realistic target on methane.

“However, after eight weeks of silence (from Shaw before the targets were announced) it is now clear that this is a Labour, NZ First and Greens deal.

“Methane reductions of this volume without the necessary onfarm innovations – which we do not have currently – mean the only option for farmers is destocking and this will have huge ramifications for both the rural and wider NZ economy.”

Muller says his caucus was yet to meet and discuss what National’s formal response would be to the methane targets and the overall bill. He expected this to happen by late May. In the meantime, he also was expecting the farming sector’s leaders to voice their concerns about the proposed methane targets.

“My expectation is for them to voice their concerns most strenuously and strongly.”

Meanwhile, National’s agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy has reiterated the concerns expressed by farming bodies about the Climate Change Bill. 

“Their concern is that the methane reduction target (minus 24-47% by 2050) is not backed by solid science,” he says. “The economic analysis is eye watering and shows billions of dollars in costs that will bite rural communities hard.” 

He says farmers will continue to make changes onfarm backed by good science and technologies. 

Guy also claims that despite NZ First supporting the methane target, the blowback from the rural sector will cause the party to “squirm and ultimately shift positions”.

More like this

Farming through transitions

A webinar on transitioning to a more sustainable agricultural model in the face of climate change has been organised on December 8.

Let us use tools available!

OPINION: Climate Change Minister James Shaw should not hesitate to sign the global commitment to reduce methane by 30% by 2030.

Editorial: Taking our message global

OPINION: Dairy farmers are hoping that the world gets a glimpse of the unique split gas approach being taken by New Zealand to reduce agriculture emissions.

Farmers flock to climate change workshop

Over the next two weeks, more than 1,500 farmers around New Zealand are getting to grips with why and how they should start responding to a changing climate, thanks to new workshops run by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and Silver Fern Farms (SFF).

National

Machinery & Products

New features on Case IH Optum

The latest Case IH Optum AFS Connect range features a new cab, interior and connectivity package designed to benefit both…

Sustainable battens and outriggers

A Christchurch based business has designed, developed, manufactured and released a modern alternative to the traditional wooden fencing batten.