Agricultural greenhouse gases & the New Zealand policy environment

New Zealand is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, its Kyoto Protocol, and the new Paris Agreement. Read more

New Zealand is a member of the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions Read more

New Zealand is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Read more

  • Sensitivity of the carbon footprint of New Zealand milk to greenhouse gas metrics

    Reisinger, A., Ledgard, S.F., Falconer, S.J. 2017. Sensitivity of the carbon footprint of New Zealand milk to greenhouse gas
    metrics. Ecological Indicators 81, 74–82.

    Highlights

    • The carbon footprint of milk depends on the choice of GHG metric.
    • GHG metrics that emphasise long-lived gases tend to favour low-input systems.
    • Differences in footprint among farms are greater if long-lived gases are emphasised.
    • Ranking is robust for most farms but differences are significant in some instances.
    • Transparency in the choice of GHG metrics would support more robust policy outcomes.

    Read more  (external website, may be paid access)

  • Low emissions development of the beef cattle sector in Uruguay

    The NZAGRC in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN has released a report evaluating the potential for improving productivity while reducing enteric methane emission intensity from beef production in Uruguay.

    Acknowledgements
    This project is a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (www.fao.org) and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the FAO and the New Zealand Government in support of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. 

    View report (external website)

    Read more about the project (external website)

  • Supporting low emissions development in the Bangladesh dairy sector

    The NZAGRC in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN has released a report evaluating the potential for improving milk production while reducing enteric methane emission intensity from dairy production in Bangladesh.

    Acknowledgements
    This project is a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (www.fao.org) and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the FAO and the New Zealand Government in support of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. 

    View the report (external website)

    Read more about the project (external website)

  • Supporting low emissions development in the Ethiopian dairy cattle sector

    The NZAGRC in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN has released a report evaluating the potential for improving milk production while reducing enteric methane emission intensity from dairy cattle production in Ethiopia.

    Acknowledgements
    This project is a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (www.fao.org) and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the FAO and the New Zealand Government in support of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. 

    View the report (external website)

    Read more about this project (external website)

  • Sharing New Zealand's success story

    The Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance is documenting countries’ successes in reducing on-farm emissions intensity of livestock production at the same time as addressing other concerns related to increasing productivity, increasing resource use efficiency, or reducing other externalities of their livestock systems.

    New Zealand submitted a case study about reducing the emissions intensity of livestock production on New Zealand farms.

    View the New Zealand case study (external website)

    Other countries success stories http://globalresearchalliance.org/research/livestock/ 

  • Dr Andy Reisinger: livestock impact on climate change set to rise

    The impact of agriculture on global warming could be as high as 14 per cent says an agricultural greenhouse gas specialist.

    But livestock may be even higher globally at 19 per cent.

    Andy Reisinger​ the deputy director (International) of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre said while the numbers were contentious, livestock made a substantial impact on climate change. 

    Speaking by video-link from Mexico, where he was talking climate change with politicians, Reisinger addressed150 delegates at the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Conference  in Palmerston North late last month.

    Reisinger said it was hard to estimate different sectors' impact on global warming but the picture was clear.  

    "From 1860 to 2017 there has been a massive increase in temperature, with 2016 so far the highest point.  As well as greenhouse gas production, there were also natural emissions,  which also takes into account the sun and volcanic eruptions.

    "But the impact of agriculture today on greenhouse gases is surprisingly large.

    "Livestock today, could be as much as 19 per cent of direct emissions."

    He said gases from agriculture were not interchangeable.

    "Carbon dioxide is the dominant greenhouse gas - it lasts in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Methane goes almost immediately.  

    "But agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to global gases today. And we think it is responsible for about 14 per cent of global warming gases."

    Resinger said of that, livestock was 9 percent at the moment.

    "I just want to emphasise how much it is not known.  In 100 years, it looks as though agricultural will be 22 per cent of warming."

    If no steps were taken to mitigate the world's temperature it would rise go up 4.5 degrees C. And if we do change and mitigate the effects, then the increase will be 1.5 degrees."

    He said the message for all delegates of the conference was if the world took all mitigation steps, then livestock emissions would stand out.

    "We came up with an aspirational goal to reduce agricultural emissions.  The proposal is for one gigatonne a year by the year 2030."

    A gigatonne is equal to a million metric tons.

    Reisinger said there was a groundswell of countries that thought agriculture needed to be included in any mitigation schemes.

    "We have 119  countries included in the Paris agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.  And 64 per cent of those are developing nations.  They need strong support from developed nations."

    He said agricultural mitigation was vital to support the Paris agreement.

    "And the interest in mitigation of agriculture is growing internationally."

    The director of the New Zealand  Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, Dr Harry Clark, said while there were several mitigation factors for livestock in the pipeline, finding something that worked on grass-fed New Zealand stock was the most difficult.

    Feeds that reduced emissions worked on animals housed and brought feed, they did not work on sheep on the hills.

    However he said farmers' awareness of their greenhouse gas contribution was at a much higher level than 15 years ago.

    "There is growing awareness now of the unusual greenhouse gas profile here dominated by agriculture.To meet our international commitments, we have to think carefully about what we do with the agricultural sector. I think 15 years ago, you wouldn't have seen that awareness."

    But he said  other than more efficient production, greenhouse mitigation on New Zealand farms was years away.

    He said many emissions in the US and Europe came from industry, such as power plants and from cars.

    "You can get electric cars, and cleaner plants and a lot of those emissions will come down. Then unfortunately the focus will go on agriculture."

    To get emissions down so global warming was 2 degrees Celsius or less, carbon dioxide emissions would have to hit zero this century, he said.

    "Once you tackle those gases, then the proportion of gases change, and greater emphasis comes on agriculture."

    Clark said New Zealand's immediate priority was to increase efficiency.

    ​"We need to do more research to develop new technologies. It is difficult to say when they will come along, but what we can say is very good progress has been made on the experimental side. However, then to go from experimental to something that works on farm and is available commercially, takes a number of years."

    He said technology had to meet regulatory values and the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide, known as DCD and recalled from shelves in 2003, was a salutary lesson. 

    "It has to be safe for people - have no residues, and be safe for animals."

    The New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre is funded by the Government and overseas investment. 

    Statistics New Zealand says New Zealand's net greenhouse gas emissions increased 54 per cent between 1990 and 2014.

    A total of 24.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent was removed from the atmosphere in 2014, equivalent to 30 per cent of New Zealand's total greenhouse gas emissions that year.

  • Greenhouse gas awareness of livestock's contribution to emissions rises among farmers

    More farmers are aware of the impact of livestock on global warming, says an agricultural greenhouse research expert.

    New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre director Dr Harry Clark said farmer awareness of their greenhouse gas contribution was at a much higher level than 15 years ago.

    This extended to growing recognition of international agreement to cut greenhouse gases, such as the Paris agreement, he said.

    "There is growing awareness now of the unusual greenhouse gas profile here, dominated by agriculture," he told about 150 people at the recent mitigation of greenhouse gas conference in Palmerston North. "To meet our international commitments, we have to think carefully about what we do with the agricultural sector. I think 15 years ago, you wouldn't have seen that awareness."
     
    However, other than more efficient production, greenhouse mitigation on New Zealand farms was years away, Clark said.

    "Worldwide in general in the developed world people are more aware, but in very poor countries they have other things to think about, such as food supply and food safety."

    The research centre was funded by the Government and overseas investment. Clark said it would be true to say that politicians were also more engaged.

    Farmer awareness in developing nations often centred on how to adapt to climate change such as coping with more rain or more desert, rather than halting greenhouse gas production, he said.

    "But in New Zealand, we have these strong international agreements, on reducing climate change."

    He said many emissions in the US and Europe came from industrial plants, such as power plants and from cars.

    "You can get electric cars, and cleaner plants and a lot of those emissions will come down. Then unfortunately the focus will go on agriculture."

    To get emissions down so global warming was 2 degrees Celsius or less, carbon dioxide emissions would have to hit zero this century, he said.

    "Once you tackle those gases, then the proportion of gases change, and greater emphasis comes on agriculture."

    Animals produce methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. "Really, to tackle global warming, and keeping it to less than 2 degrees, we have to tackle carbon dioxide and the other gases need to be addressed, too."

    That needed to happen against the backdrop of another two or three billion people added to the world population - and that scenario was scary, he said. 

    MAKING CHANGES

    Agriculture could make changes, Clark said. "The sectors have talked about efficiency, for instance, the sheep and beef industry saying it produces the same amount of meat with far less animals and fewer emissions.  

    "[However] That only takes us so far. Then we need new technology." New Zealand's grass-based system was one of the most difficult to find greenhouse gas mitigation systems, Clark said.

    "If you have animals indoors, and you are feeding them every day, then there are things you can do, such as manipulate the feed, and there are some compounds coming. But these you have to feed every day.  How do you do that to a sheep on the hillside? It is hard for an extensive system."

    Clark said New Zealand's immediate priority was to increase efficiency.

    ​"We need to do more research to develop new technologies. It is difficult to say when they will come along, but what we can say is very good progress has been made on the experimental side. However, then to go from experimental to something that works on farm and is available commercially, takes a number of years."

    He said technology had to meet regulatory values and the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide, known as DCD and recalled from shelves in 2003, was a salutary lesson. 

    "It has to be safe for people - have no residues, and safe for animals."

  • The structure of agricultural greenhouse gas research funding in New Zealand

    This publication is a guide to New Zealand's way of funding greenhouse gas research in New Zealand including ways the funds work in partnership to grow New Zealand's understanding and contribution to real solutions to tackle climate change.

  • New Zealand-Argentina agricultural agreement signed

    Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has signed an Agricultural Cooperation Arrangement with Argentina today, aimed at building closer relationships between the two countries.

    Read more at https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand-argentina-agricultural-agreement-signed

  • China and New Zealand discuss climate change

    17 February 2017

    Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett says China and New Zealand have experience and expertise to share about responding to climate change.

    Read more at https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/china-and-new-zealand-discuss-climate-change

  • Report: Desk-top review of GHG components of OVERSEER

    Report prepared for the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre

    August 2015 

    Read more

  • NZAGRC welcomes PCE report on agricultural GHG mitigation

    Wednesday, 19 October 2016
     
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report into greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture highlights the need for a suite of mitigation solutions rather than a single silver bullet.
     

    The PCE report is available at http://www.pce.parliament.nz/our-work/news-insights/we-need-to-work-together-on-climate-change-and-farming-says-environment-commissioner 

  • NZAGRC welcomes stocktake of New Zealand's action on climate change

    Friday, 23 September 2016

    The NZAGRC supports the New Zealand government’s commitment to progress action on climate change, summarised yesterday in the Ministry for the Environment’s stocktake document: “New Zealand’s Action on Climate Change”.

    Andy Reisinger, NZAGRC Deputy Director, says “it is excellent to see an overview of the climate change challenges and actions specific to New Zealand. This document shows the many ways in which New Zealand is currently addressing the challenges posed by climate change and it’s good to see recognition that we can do more and will do more to make the most of our unique opportunity.”

    The agricultural industry in New Zealand can play a unique role in New Zealand’s action on climate change. Almost half New Zealand’s emissions come from agriculture, but so does much of our national income. As highlighted in the document, there is significant effort already going on to reduce emissions whilst maintaining industry growth and prosperity.

    In particular, the NZAGRC, in close partnership with the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium is working with the farming sector on finding ways to reduce biological emissions from agriculture. Andy Reisinger says “The NZAGRC plays a significant and active role in researching greenhouse gas reduction solutions that will work for our farming sector. We’re also driving international efforts through our research collaborations via the Global Research Alliance’s Livestock Research Group.“

    “The NZAGRC looks forward to supporting the strengthened climate change actions highlighted in this document, including through the establishment of a new expert group to support New Zealand’s efforts to address climate change in agriculture.”

    ENDS

    Contact:

    Andy Reisinger, NZAGRC Deputy Director

    Tel: 04 472 3292 Mob: 021 613 125 Email: andy.reisinger@nzagrc.org.nz

    About the NZAGRC

    The New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse gas Research Centre is a partnership between the leading New Zealand research providers working in the agricultural greenhouse gas area and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc) working on development of efficient, cost effective farm solutions through the reduction of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

    www.nzagrc.org.nz 

  • Modelling Agriculture's Contribution to New Zealand's Contribution to the Post-2020 Agreement

    This report has been commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to provide information on expected future agricultural emissions and the potential of mitigation actions. It aims to assist in developing different approaches to an agricultural target as part of New Zealand’s contribution to a post-2020 agreement under the UNFCCC.

    The report provides emissions data obtained from a range of emissions scenarios (baselines and targeted mitigation actions to reduce absolute emissions and/or emissions intensities relative to baselines) through until the year 2050, with a specific focus on 2030. Scenario analysis has been used to explore the consequences of different approaches for emission trends.

    This report considers mitigation options consisting of various ways of improving farm efficiency alongside those that rely on the implementation of new technologies. The mitigation scenarios do not include policies or regulations that would imply significant additional constraints on land, stocking densities or nitrogen loading, or policies that would shift the profitability of different types of land-use through imposition of a cost of carbon on agriculture. Modelling the effects of such policies would require the use of economic tools and would rely on policy assumptions outside the scope of this report.

    Changing global market conditions could also have a major impact on agricultural production and emissions in New Zealand, but the characterisation of future global markets, let alone quantification of their implications for New Zealand livestock production and emissions, was beyond the scope of this report.

    Related to the above exclusions, the report did not investigate potential changes in total available agricultural land and the level of use of agricultural land between ruminant livestock and production forest, horticulture or arable crops. In other words, a basic assumption of the report is that agricultural land currently in ruminant livestock production will remain in some form of ruminant livestock production, and the only changes considered relate to the balance of livestock species and intensity of production systems, including use of specific management practices and technologies. While this assumption of a static total land area for livestock production is unlikely to remain the case in reality over the next several decades, it is beyond the scope of this report to assess potential changes in land use.

    Based on the individual mitigation options considered in this report, a combined package of mitigation outcomes (both on an absolute emissions and emissions intensity level) is presented, including the influence of the choice of base year (or base period) and metrics to aggregate emissions intensities from different sub-sectors (dairy, sheep and beef). The report does not make any recommendations on suitable or desirable targets, but seeks to inform political decisions about such targets by presenting the influence of different measures on emissions and providing a high-level indication of economic, environmental and social aspects relating to their implementation in a New Zealand context.

    Download the report (external website)

  • Reducing emissions from agriculture to meet the 2

    Wollenberg, E., Richards, M., Smith, P., Havlík, P., Obersteiner, M., Tubiello, F. N., Herold, M., Gerber, P., Carter, S., Reisinger, A., van Vuuren, D. P., Dickie, A., Neufeldt, H., Sander, B. O., Wassmann, R., Sommer, R., Amonette, J. E., Falcucci, A., Herrero, M., Opio, C., Roman-Cuesta, R. M., Stehfest, E., Westhoek, H., Ortiz-Monasterio, I., Sapkota, T., Rufino, M. C., Thornton, P. K., Verchot, L., West, P. C., Soussana, J.-F., Baedeker, T., Sadler, M., Vermeulen, S. and Campbell, B. M. (2016), Reducing emissions from agriculture to meet the 2 °C target. Glob Change Biol, 22: 3859–3864. doi:10.1111/gcb.13340

    More than 100 countries pledged to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Yet technical information about how much mitigation is needed in the sector vs. how much is feasible remains poor. We identify a preliminary global target for reducing emissions from agriculture of ~1 GtCO2e yr−1 by 2030 to limit warming in 2100 to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Yet plausible agricultural development pathways with mitigation cobenefits deliver only 21–40% of needed mitigation. The target indicates that more transformative technical and policy options will be needed, such as methane inhibitors and finance for new practices. A more comprehensive target for the 2 °C limit should be developed to include soil carbon and agriculture-related mitigation options. Excluding agricultural emissions from mitigation targets and plans will increase the cost of mitigation in other sectors or reduce the feasibility of meeting the 2 °C limit.

    Read more (external website)

  • Global links strengthen agriculture research

    A new round of research funding and the appointment of a Special Representative are big steps forward for New Zealand’s involvement in the Global Research Alliance, Ministers Paula Bennett and Nathan Guy say.

    “New Zealander Hayden Montgomery has been endorsed by GRA member countries as its first Special Representative. The appointment highlights the confidence other countries have in New Zealand and the value they place in the work we do managing the GRA Secretariat,” Climate Change Issues Minister Paula Bennett says.

    “This appointment will allow the GRA to better work with international and regional organisations, NGOs and the agricultural sector globally to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases and to improve the productivity of farmers globally.

    “Since 1990, New Zealand farmers’ productivity gains have prevented agricultural emissions from rising an additional 40 per cent. The GRA is doing critical work sharing best practice abroad and working on the next big advances the world needs.”

    The fourth round of the Global Partnerships in Livestock Emissions Research (GPLER) has also now opened which is providing $9.2million in contestable research funding.

    “This funding comes from the $20 million contribution to the GRA announced by Prime Minister John Key at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December last year. It will be available for four research challenges covering rumen function, nitrous oxide emissions, soil carbon change and improvement in emissions intensity at farm-level,” Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

    “The GPLER has been an important tool for identifying and funding cutting edge research focused on reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating global research efforts.  

    “The international, collaborative nature of the fund has previously seen New Zealand scientists working with counterparts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway and USA.”

    Details on the fund and applications for the fourth round of funding can be found at https://www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/farming/global-partnerships-in-livestock-emissions-research/

  • PICK OF THE COP: KEY OUTCOMES OF THE PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE

    History was made on 12 December 2015, when the gavel went down on a new global climate change agreement at the 21st UN climate change conference (COP 21) in Paris. For the first time in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) two-decade history, all governments have agreed to act on climate change, and all will transition to a low carbon economy over the course of this century.

    The UNFCCC's biggest stumbling block has been its approach that placed legal obligations only on developed countries (OECD members in 1990) to reduce emissions, while the rest of the world took voluntary action. Under the Paris Agreement, the playing field is now level for developed and developing countries, though the former will continue to provide financial and capacity-building support to help the developing world reduce emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

    The new agreement represents a shift from imposed burden-sharing to a vision combining global rules with action to be determined by each country, in line with its national circumstances. This combination sets up a kind of bounded flexibility. Everyone is to take action on emissions, plan for adaptation, apply agreed methodologies and accounting approaches, report and be reviewed on their progress, and will commit to increasingly ambitious targets. . But each country decides for itself how much it can do.

    By the time we got to Paris, 189 governments had tabled their intended post-2020 contributions. You can count the number of non-submitters on the fingers of one hand, so this is a real game-changer. The majority of countries' intended contributions (and all those from developed countries) are economy-wide, though many developing countries submitted targets to reduce the emissions-intensity of their economies (i.e. bending the growth curve) and/or made their contributions at least partly conditional on finance.

    Unsurprisingly, given the political sensitivity of discussions in the UNFCCC, agriculture is neither treated differently from other sectors, nor excluded from the Paris Agreement. There are two key aspects to the deal. First, an expectation that governments will move over time to economy-wide absolute emissions reduction targets (and not slip back to sector-specific targets). Second, there are explicit references to the importance of food security and the need to ensure food production isn't compromised, appearing in both the preamble and Article 2 of the Agreement.

    The accounting approaches to apply for second and subsequent national contributions will be elaborated before the agreement enters into effect in 2020. But COP 21 clarified that countries will be able to draw on existing accounting guidelines - meaning either those spelled out under the UNFCCC or (as New Zealand uses) its Kyoto Protocol.

    This outcome opens the door for a multilateral conversation on agriculture - one we started in the lead-up to and at COP 21. We'll take the lead in looking for opportunities to discuss how these twin objectives - of not limiting food production and at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions - can sensibly be met. The next opportunity is a series of UNFCCC technical workshops, beginning in May.

    A work programme, laid out in Paris, will put flesh on the bones of the 11-page Paris Agreement by elaborating a plethora of rules, guidelines and procedures before 2020. For New Zealand, Paris was the best outcome we could have hoped for - especially with a substantial provision and work programme on carbon markets. The agreement creates a new frontier, but there's plenty of negotiation to keep us busy so we're all well-prepared for its implementation.

  • 1035 Andy Reisinger, NZAGRC Deputy Director (International)

    Andy began with a very clear message that the global community needs to take action now in order to limit warming to two degrees.

    “If agriculture doesn’t take any effective action, we would have to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere before 2050 to remain within the 2°C limit.”

    Taking mitigation from the agricultural sector seriously globally would allow just a little more space for global carbon dioxide emissions and keep the 2 degree goal feasible.

    Agriculture has already been reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by farming more efficiently, and if best practice were adopted by all farmers, this could make further significant reductions. More efficient farming also reduces emissions per unit of product, however this alone will not decrease total emissions.

    New agricultural technologies can be employed to drop emissions, and Andy indicated that these would be covered in later presentations.

    Additionally he noted that demand management will need to play a role in meeting the 2°C goal. Reducing the current volume of global food waste (30-40%) and promoting dietary shifts towards grain from meat could provide potentially large gains. This was covered by Professor Pete Smith.

    Download presentation 

  • 1055 Jo Tyndall, New Zealand's Climate Change Ambassador

    Jo provided a fascinating insight into the global political landscape in the GHG and climate change area.

    At the end of this year, 40,000 delegates are expected in France and the hope is that a new global agreement will be finalised.

    With respect to this new legal agreement, Jo expects that it will be fairly basic. There have been four years debate about the form of the agreement, and it looks as if it will be different from the Kyoto Protocol to ensure it includes all parties. There are likely to be a number of obligations around reporting, but few hard penalties, rather a “name and shame” approach will be adopted.

    It is unlikely that there will be an agriculture section in the agreement, as it is just not a prominent issue for the other developed countries and it is a very sensitive issue for many developing countries. However agriculture may be referenced in order to provide an opening for the future.

    At a country level, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) or reduction targets need to be tabled well before the Paris meeting. In many ways, this is being left up to individual countries who will be setting their targets before the “rules of the legal game” have been finalised. However, countries need to demonstrate that their new INDCs have progressed beyond their previous commitments and the US and China, who account for >50% of global emissions, have already set ambitious targets, which is encouraging to others. There is growing pressure for the remaining big emitters to get their INDCs on the table and New Zealand is aiming to set its target by the mid-June deadline.

    Unfortunately, it is highly likely that the targets that are tabled will fall short of the 2°C target. Therefore, there will be a need to set long term pathways. New technologies will be valuable tools in the medium to long term and adaptation planning is likely to become more mainstream.

    Overall, Jo concludes that she is optimistic that there will be a new global agreement by the end of 2015.

  • Economic and Policy Implications of Alternative GHG Metrics

    Agriculture emits a range of greenhouse gases. Evaluating the effectiveness of mitigation strategies requires a way to compare the contribution of individual gases to overall emissions. This is usually done by converting emissions of methane and nitrous oxide into so-called "carbon dioxide equivalents" using a simple multiplier.

    However, there is more way than one to compare apples and oranges, and the same applies to different greenhouse gases. This fact sheet describes the most common equivalence metric, the Global Warming Potential, used by the UNFCCC and in the Kyoto Protocol. Alternative metrics exist though and could give very different weight in particular to methane. The fact sheet highlights the potential implications of alternative metrics - globally, and for New Zealand - for our collective efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and projected climate change at least cost.

    pdf Download fact sheet 3 (high res) (2.79MB) 

    pdf Download fact sheet 3 (low res) (0.83MB) 

  • The Impact of Livestock Agriculture on Climate Change

    There is robust scientific evidence that the climate is changing, and that most of the warming observed over the past 50 years is due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations from human activities. This fact sheet summarises why, and how, livestock agriculture contributes to climate change, and why limiting the projected global increase in those emissions is seen as a key component of dealing with climate change.

    With almost half of our emissions from agriculture, New Zealand is unique in the developed world. Understanding the global contribution of agriculture to climate change provides important context for New Zealand's efforts to enable agriculture to continue to create wealth in a carbon constrained world.

    pdf Download fact sheet 1 (high res) (5.80MB) 

    pdf Download fact sheet 1 (low res) (1.13MB) 

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