In the Zero Carbon Bill, unveiled earlier this week by the Government, the agriculture industry was called on to reduce methane emissions by up to 47% by 2050. The meat sector, in particular, feels that this proposed reduction is out of step with what is expected of other sectors.
“Sheep and beef emissions have already reduced by 30% since 1990, helping meet New Zealand’s climate change challenge and we accept we still have work to do,” said Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) chairman Andrew Morrison. “New Zealand needs a robust science-based and fair approach when setting targets for an issue that will affect future generations.
“B+LNZ is calling for a fair approach, where each gas is reduced based on its warming impact. An equitable approach requires carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide to go to net zero, and methane to be reduced and stabilised by between 10-22%. This is consistent with the advice from the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment who identified this range as meaning methane would be contributing no additional warming. Any target above a 10-22% reduction is therefore asking methane to cool the planet.
“It’s unreasonable to ask farmers to be cooling the climate, as the Government’s proposed targets would do, without expecting the rest of the economy to also do the same.”
B+LNZ also urged the Government to be transparent and release all the advice on which it based its decision.
“The Government’s decision appears to fly in the face of international scientific evidence, which supports reducing and stabilising methane by 10-22% as equivalent to net carbon zero,” added Morrison. “As the Zero Carbon Bill currently stands, it will have a dramatic impact on New Zealand’s regional communities and the entire economy, and the knock-on effect will be felt by every Kiwi.”