From the Director's desk - Mar 2019

The Centre is already well into a hectic schedule for 2019, with the MPI-commissioned review of our achievements over the last nine years having been concluded, and the New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference (NZACCC) taking place in Palmerston North shortly.

The review has been very positive for the NZAGRC, underlining the importance of the work we do, and gives MPI and the Government food for thought as they review the future funding and structure for agricultural greenhouse gas emissions research.

Andy Reisinger and I are continuing to give much of our time to the Interim Climate Change Committee. I have been seconded for two days per week as a member of the ICCC itself and Andy’s role is Chief Science Advisor to the committee.

The ICCC has been established as the precursor to the appointment of a permanent Climate Change Commission (CCC) and its most important role is to investigate the entry of agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). We are also reviewing the proposed transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2035.

Those roles will pass to the full Commission when it is established under the Zero Carbon Act, in the latter half of 2019, and the Interim Committee’s advice and recommendations will be passed on to the CCC to follow through.

Consultation and engagement are a critical part of our work, and we've embarked on a targeted but very extensive engagement programme.

The ICCC’s focus has been on getting out and about across the country, listening to what people have to say. We’ve met with many organisations and individuals, in sectors such as electricity, energy, transport, agriculture, financial and forestry.

The committee is expected to prepare its final reports by 30 April 2019 so we are working hard to conclude our final consultations and submit our report.

Also, in April, Andy and I will be involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 meeting in Edinburgh.

The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. We will be contributing to Working Group III which focuses on climate change mitigation, assessing methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

I’m pleased to say that a paper Andy wrote (and I co-authored) was in the top 25 downloads from the Global Change Biology journal for 2018. The paper "How much do direct livestock emissions actually contribute to global warming?" can be found at

Although a relatively young journal, Global Change Biology has been growing steadily. GCB’s 2017 ISI ranking is first in biodiversity conservation, third in Environmental Sciences and fifth in Ecology Sciences.

Finally, I’m pleased to see the House of Science kit released to New Zealand schools. The more we educate our young people about climate change and GHGs, the more informed they will be in making decisions which shape New Zealand’s future.


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