DairyNZ welcomes the release of a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, which recommends New Zealand approach climate change in a similar manner to the United Kingdom.
Dr Jan Wright recommends the Government set up an independent Climate Change Commission to propose carbon budgets as stepping stones towards meeting greenhouse gas targets, which would provide certainty and transparency about how New Zealand climate change targets will be met.
We support the development of an economy wide plan that outlines the expectations of each sector. The dairy sector has been at a point of flux - and we know we must be part of the solution.
We recognise the dairy sector's responsibility to contribute to reduction targets, but we are currently operating within an environment that provides no clear pathway for dairy to move towards a low emission future.
The approach recommended by Dr Wright provides a transparent process which would provide greater certainty to dairy.
The setting of carbon budgets for five year periods would will allow the dairy sector and farmers to plan over the longer term how they will reduce their emissions.
However, this is a complex challenge which requires a well thought out approach.
This report provides a good platform to start discussions on what the appropriate framework is for providing certainty and clarity on how the dairy industry and the wider economy will contribute to New Zealand's greenhouse gas reduction targets.
It is important to remember that as a food producing nation New Zealand has a very different greenhouse gas profile to the United Kingdom, where only 8 per cent of emissions are agricultural.
As almost half our emissions are from agriculture, we face a far greater challenge to meet future targets.
While our dairy sector is one of the most emissions efficient producers in the world, we know more action is required to address our emissions over the longer term.
We launched the Dairy Action Plan for Climate Change in June which, in partnership with the Government and Fonterra, aims to increase education and awareness of mitigation options for farmers, and the Biological Emissions Reference Group which looks to ensure we have the right science in place to look at what can be done to reduce emissions.
- Dr Tim Mackle is chief executive officer of DairyNZ