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

  • 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/ 

  • 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 

  • 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) 

Members

Join our news and information mailing list: