New primary sector groups to support climate change goals

Two new reference groups will help support New Zealand’s climate change goals and reduce emissions from the livestock and forestry sectors, Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have announced today.

“As part of ratifying the Paris agreement on climate change, New Zealand has set a target of reducing our emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The primary sector will need to be an important part of that,” says Mr Guy.

“The Biological Emissions Reference Group will bring together a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and farming stakeholders to collaborate with Government and build a solid evidence base. This will ensure we have the best possible range of information on what can be done right now to reduce biological greenhouse emissions.

“New Zealand is a world leader in efficiently producing food, and has invested heavily in research on how to reduce our footprint. However it is a complicated challenge and right now there is no easy fix.

“The group aims to seek consensus on what can be done to reduce emissions and meet the challenging 2030 target, ensure that we have the right science, and that costs are minimised.

“New Zealand was instrumental in creating the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA), which has been so successful it now has 46 member countries. Its primary aim is to develop new technologies and help change on-farm practices to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.”

In December 2015, alongside COP21 in Paris, the Prime Minister announced an extra $20 million in funding for the GRA on top of our initial investment of $45 million.

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew is welcoming the formation of the Forestry Reference Group to test evidence, analysis and policy options with sector experts.

“Forestry is a major part of the economy and plays an important role in helping us meet our long-term climate change commitments, while also delivering economic and environmental benefits here at home,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Just this year, our Afforestation Grant Scheme will see 2,900 hectares of forests planted, which will absorb approximately 1.3 million tonnes of carbon. New Zealand is committed to working to reduce emissions, and forestry will be a major part of that work.

“This group will help road-test any proposed changes to forestry in the Emissions Trading Scheme. These are big and complex issues and the sector’s input is crucial to ensure that we ‘get it right first time’.”

Terms of reference and membership for both groups will be released within weeks.

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