These carbon budgets determine how much each sector should emit over three five-year periods (2022-2025, 2026-2030, and 2031-2035).
To make a submission or understand more visit the Climate Change Commission website.
Listen to Roger Lincoln (DairyNZ principal policy advisor) Nick Tait (DairyNZ Climate Change project lead) and Fraser McGougan, (dairy farmer and Climate Change ambassador) explain the Climate Change Commission’s draft advice and action the dairy sector is taking to reduce emissions.
DairyNZ's first impressions
At first glance, it appears the commission have taken a balanced and pragmatic approach and offered clear logic for their recommendations.
Of course, there will be challenges for dairy to overcome, but we are not alone. The Commission have made it clear that all New Zealanders will need to work to reduce their footprint whether that be on the farm, on the roads, or in our homes.
Although some of the recommendations about land-use change may sound confronting, we should not necessarily shy away from them. The success of New Zealand’s primary sector has always been based on land-use flexibility.
Our team is now working through the report to assess what assumptions have been made. The devil is always in the detail, and we will push back on points we disagree with.
The consultation period starts today and closes on March 28. DairyNZ will be making a submission on behalf of dairy farmers and we encourage you to make your own submission here.
A breakdown of what the Commission has recommended
- The Commission has recognised that because methane is a short-lived greenhouse gas it does not need to drop to zero by 2050 – which is great news.
- Their recommendations do not include change to the methane reduction targets set in the Zero Carbon Act.
- They have accepted the blanket planting of pine trees on farms is not a sustainable climate policy and could negatively affect rural communities.
- They have highlighted the need for long-term investment in R&D for agriculture to develop solutions such as inhibitors, vaccines, and research into selective breeding.
- They have specifically called on the Government to invest in rural broadband so that farmers have access to data and innovation.
- They have suggested a 15% reduction in the numbers of dairy cows, beef cows and sheep by 2030 while maintaining current production levels.
- It is also envisaged that there will be direct land use change from dairy farming to horticulture of around 2000 hectares per year from 2025 onward.
What you can expect from DairyNZ
- DairyNZ’s science, policy and economics team is collating a range of information to support a submission in response to the new targets. We’ll share this with you in late February.
- We’ll keep this page updated with information including a submission template
- Read DairyNZ's press release.
The story so far
Over the last 30 years the Government has made decisions to ensure New Zealand reduces its greenhouse gas emissions in line with other developed countries. At the same time the dairy sector has acted ahead of regulation by investing in research and taking on-farm action. Here are some of the key dates:
1992 - New Zealand signed the UNFCCC
New Zealand signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) committing to undertake voluntary actions to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.
1997- New Zealand joined the Kyoto Protocol
New Zealand joined the Kyoto Protocol committing developed countries to individual legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
2002 - New Zealand ratified the Kyoto Protocol
New Zealand ratified the Kyoto Protocol making it officially valid. This led to the New Zealand Government agree to a climate change policy package with the following elements:
- Created the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme to have a carbon tax on energy, industrial, and transport emissions
- Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements for “at risk” large emitters.
- Supported projects to reduce emissions, for example sustainable energy via wind
- Industry and government funding of research in the agriculture sector
2008 – The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme came into effect
The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme came into effect under the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading) Amendment Act 2008.
It is the primary method for the Government to achieve its long-term commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
For agriculture since 2011, companies carrying out certain agricultural activities have an obligation to report their emissions of methane and nitrous oxide.
2016 – New Zealand Government set an economy-wide target under the Paris Agreement
New Zealand Government set an economy-wide target under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Since the international effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5˚C above preindustrial levels, the Minister for Climate Change requested the independent Climate Change Commission to review.
If the Climate Change Commission finds that it is not compatible with contributing to the global temperature goal of 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels it will make recommendations to make changes. The Climate Change Commission will provide advice in 2021.
2017 – Dairy Action for Climate Change launched
Dairy Action for Climate Change launched. A commitment to build a foundation which supports dairy farmers and the wider dairy sector to address on-farm methane and nitrous emissions over the longer term. It was developed in partnership between DairyNZ and Fonterra, with the support of the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment.
2018 – A ground-breaking methane research facility is established
A ground-breaking methane research facility is established at DairyNZ’s Lye Farm in Hamilton.
June 2019 – Government passes the Zero Carbon Act
This provides a framework for New Zealand to develop and implement climate change policies to:
- contribute to the global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature increase to of 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels
- allow New Zealand to prepare for, and adapt to, the effect of climate change.
The changes do four key things:
- set a new domestic greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for New Zealand to:
- reduce net emissions of all greenhouse gases (except biogenic methane) to zero by 2050
- reduce emissions of biogenic methane to 24–47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050, including to 10 per cent below 2017 levels by 2030.
- establish a system of emissions budgets to act as stepping-stones towards the long-term target
- require the Government to develop and implement policies for climate change adaptation and mitigation
- establish a new, independent Climate Change Commission to provide expert advice and monitoring to help keep successive governments on track to meeting long-term goals.
April 2019 – Interim Climate Change Committee releases report
Interim Climate Change Committee releases report: action on agricultural emissions. It recommended:
- Livestock emissions are priced at processor level through the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme in the interim
- Nitrogen fertiliser is priced through the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
- The Government keeps its commitment to giving agriculture 95% free allocation (will only have to pay 5% cost) if priced
- Price livestock emissions at processor-level through the New Zealand Emission Trading Scheme in the interim as soon as possible.
- Funds should be recycled through an Agricultural emissions fund
- Recommended the Government prioritise work looking into counting carbon sequestration by trees and vegetation on-farm.
July–August 2019 - Government consults on Interim Climate Change Committee recommended options
Government consults on the options recommended by the Interim Climate Change Committee and an alternative interim proposal He Waka Eke Noa the primary sectors climate change commitment.
DairyNZ was one of organisations that came together to work on this alternative proposal.
The alternative proposal from the leaders of the agriculture sector set out a draft-five-year programme of action before 2025 to establish the foundation to support behaviour change necessary to reduce farm emissions.