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

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.

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