From the Director's desk - Nov 2018
It has been a hectic few months for the Centre, with a review of the NZAGRC’s achievements over the last 9 years , changes to our staffing and a contract extension for NZAGRC for another year. The work of the NZAGRC has never been more relevant or topical; NZAGRC staff and researchers are playing key roles as new policy and industry-led initiatives to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint are being developed and launched.
The Centre’s original contract was due to end on 30 June 2019. A one-year extension has been agreed with MPI for the NZAGRC to continue in its current form and at the same level of funding to June 2020. The extension gives breathing space as MPI and MBIE work towards a long-term funding structure and research programme. Internally, we have adjusted to our Deputy Director, Andy Reisinger’s appointment to his new role with the secretariat of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC – see separate story). Andy became Director of Inquiry focussing on agricultural-related issues in May 2018. He still devotes 30% of his time to the NZAGRC, which includes time for his IPCC duties. My own involvement in the ICCC is also increasing from now until April 2019 I expect to be working two days a week on IPCC business. For a full update on staff responsibilities, see separate story.
Our external engagement has included a number of events. Most recently, the Netherlands Ambassador visited our Palmerston North office to get a better appreciation of the work we are undertaking, I made a presentation to the Dairy NZ board on issues around methane as a short-lived GHG and a presentation to the Beef and Sheep Farmers’ Council conference in Wellington. and Andy made a series of presentations to Fonterra on the pathways needed to achieve Paris Agreement goals and the role of livestock in those pathways. We have also supported the Agricultural Communities Respecting the Environment (ACRE) day and the latest round of the Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund (see stories).
Our research continues to contribute to what we envisage will be globally applicable mitigation solutions that will help countries to meet their emissions reduction targets.
With emissions reduction now at the forefront of the political agenda, we can expect the Centre’s work to attract an even higher profile in the months going forward.
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