Tuesday, 16 July 2019 13:46

Primary sector’s commitment to reducing emissions

Written by 
Primary sector leaders have come together to create the Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment. Primary sector leaders have come together to create the Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment.

Primary sector leaders have come together to make an unprecedented commitment to reducing and mitigating agricultural emissions.

Primary sector organisations have been working together over recent months to develop a five-year work plan to support and accelerate the actions necessary to reduce agricultural emissions — our Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment. 

The commitment from across the agricultural, horticultural and arable sectors was announced as the Government’s today released a consultation document seeking feedback on policy proposals to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.   
The joint statement says addressing biological emissions starts with actions and decisions on the farm.

“And we strongly support the option for a Joint Action Plan to establish a farm-based system for reducing emissions. This is what our Commitment seeks to achieve, for enduring progress towards the goals of reducing and mitigating agricultural emissions and building resilience of our primary sectors with a genuine partnership between the primary sector, Māori and Iwi and the government. 

“We welcome the inclusion in the Government’s discussion document of a partnership approach to developing a practical, farm-based framework to reducing emissions, and we put this proposal forward in that spirit to assist the consultation process.”

Primary sector leaders acknowledge the importance of the agriculture sector playing its part as New Zealand contributes to global efforts to limit the increase in global temperature, whilst also adapting to climate change and maintaining food production.  

“We share the Government’s aspirations for higher value, environmentally sustainable farming systems. Primary sector leaders acknowledge the challenges that come with climate change and have already taken steps to respond. 

“We are already world leading and are committed to maintaining that position. New Zealand’s cultural heritage provides us an opportunity to develop a shared set of values, principles, and language in response to climate change. Our framework for a collective response draws on Te Ora o te Ao principles that guides our roles and responsibilities as kaitiaki and active caretakers of our environment.”

Through a joint action plan - with the primary sector, government and Maori and Iwi - farmers and growers will be able to calculate their emissions and offsets at the farm gate, assess options to reduce or mitigate their emissions, and have confidence that there is ongoing investment in a pipeline of research and tools. 

The framework will address climate change within a whole farm systems framework, recognizing that farmers efforts to reduce emissions sits alongside water quality, biosecurity, biodiversity, animal welfare, and financial sustainability.  

A central tenet of the Government’s discussion document is pricing of agricultural emissions. The primary sector is seeking to work with government to design a pricing mechanism where any price is part of a broader framework to support on-farm change, contributes to lower global emissions and supports farmers and growers to make practical changes on the ground. This will be critically important to enable a smooth transition for the agricultural sector.  

Primary sector leaders believe the fastest progress can be made towards managing New Zealand’s biological emissions by focusing on the establishment of a farm-based framework focused on practice change, rather than the Interim Climate Change Committee proposal to impose an interim processor level cost on emissions, priced through the Emissions Trading Scheme. 

The long game is emission reductions and management, not simply pricing, they say.

“We believe that an interim processor ETS obligation, at this point in time, would not achieve the same buy-in nor practice changes that the sector, Maori and Iwi, and government are collectively seeking to achieve. 

“Our proposal - Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment- represents a high-level statement of our vision for, and commitment to, reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, and outlines our collective commitment in response to the challenges posed by climate change, while enhancing our reputation for safe and sustainable food production and maintaining our competitiveness in international markets. 

“This approach represents a departure from the past practice in this sector and requires us to forge new ground and we are strongly committed to making this work.”The full Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment can be found at http://www.beeflambnz.com/climatechangecommitment.

More like this

NZ and Ireland farming's GHG battle

A top climate change policy advisor to the Irish government says Ireland and New Zealand should become close allies to combat the negative narrative against the dairy industry. Peter Burke reports.

Do more on climate change - Shaw

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says New Zealand dairy is the world's lowest greenhouse gas emitter but that's not good enough.

Tackling climate change

OPINION: Is it time to take a deep breath and stop to consider the whole climate change debate on a global scale rather than just based on New Zealand’s commitments under the Paris Accord?

National

Wide price range 'realistic'

Fonterra's wide forecast milk price range for the new season is realistic, says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel.

Machinery & Products

Lady muck really does suck

As anyone will attest to – if they’re married to someone with horses, have kids with ponies or are foolish…

The perfect workhorse

Hastings-based Kleer Contractors provides 24-hour machine work and labour for a local food processing plant.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

No thanks!

OPINION: A mate of this old mutt's almost choked on his dog tucker when he came across the musings of…

More sunlight

OPINION: Your canine crusader hears that not all is rosy in the world of supposed rural sector congeniality.

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter