“To secure New Zealand’s future as a sustainable agricultural nation, we must see long lived gases reduced to net zero, and short lived gases like methane reduced and stabilised in accordance with scientific evidence,” says Dr Mackle.
“We know methane needs to reduce, and we welcome the opportunity to work with the government on just how much that reduction needs to be.”
Science shows that methane doesn’t need to be reduced to zero because it is a short-lived gas. It can be reduced and stabilised at a certain point.
“Methane is released as part of a cows digestive process, which would make a net zero methane emission target extremely difficult target for the agricultural sector to meet. Allowing a specific amount of methane emissions will safeguard New Zealand’s future as an agricultural nation,” says Dr Mackle.
“Right now we are working with farmers to help them optimise their farm systems which will assist in reducing methane. We’re also investing in the development of a methane vaccine and inhibitor via the PGgRc.
“All three proposed targets will still require significant uptake in forestry planting and we hope to work with the Government on simple changes to ETS forestry regulations to make planting more accessible for dairy farmers.
“Regardless of the new emissions reduction target chosen, New Zealand needs to be planning for a different climate.
“We support and welcome the Government’s commitment to planning early and avoiding sudden change. This will allow all sectors to transition over time.
“All New Zealanders need to do their bit. We want to see all sectors aligned and accountable towards a common goal which will see New Zealand achieve a low emissions economy.”
NOTE: The public consultation period runs until 19 July, and feedback can be provided through the Ministry for the Environment website http://www.ourclimateyoursay.nz.
Senior Advisor, Stakeholder Relations and Communications