The latest inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that gross emissions for 2016 have decreased by 2.4 percent compared to 2015, which still reflects a 19.6 percent increase compared to 1990 levels. The dairy sector is responsible for 22.5 percent of New Zealand’s emissions.
“The dairy sector is well aware of the challenge posed by its emissions profile, and that’s why we are focusing on what mitigation options our farmers can adopt to start making a difference,” says Dr Mackle.
“This is the whole premise of our Dairy Action for Climate Change plan. We are ensuring farmers and the agricultural sector understand the challenge of climate change, the scientific research underway and the environmental mitigations they can make on their farms right now.
“Many farmers across the country are already thinking and working in this way. Much of the work they have underway to improve water quality also has the co-benefits of improving their greenhouse gas emissions.
“Methane, the main agricultural gas, is a large contributor to New Zealand’s emission profile yet it has increased by only 5 per cent since 1990. This is in contrast to the transport sector whose carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 78 percent since 1990. The methane emissions increase would have been much higher if it weren’t for the efficiency gains the sector has achieved.
“We are already one of the lowest emissions producers of dairy nutrition in the world, but we know we need to keep improving to help New Zealand move toward a low emissions future.
“New Zealand needs to reduce emissions across all gases and across all sectors.
“This isn’t just about the transport or agriculture sector. It’s about all sectors. We are all in this together.”