From the Director's desk - Sep 2019

It has been a very busy few months since our last newsletter, which came out after the highly-successful New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference (NZACCC) in April 2019.

Immediately following the conference, our International Science Advisory Group assembled to consider areas for future research. This is important to our planning strategy because it is essential we look to the future, and assess what new avenues of research are required to achieve our goals, as well as ensuring our current research efforts are fully supported. In that respect I am delighted to be able to report that funding to the centre for the next five years from both the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has now been confirmed!

While our normal work has continued, in recent months myself and Deputy Director Andy Reisinger have been heavily involved in the release of the report of the Interim Climate Change Committee.

As a member of the committee I have been in demand to explain the rationale for the report’s recommendations in terms of the agricultural sector. While the report itself has been released, the commitment to assist the ICCC continues while the Government consults publicly and decides on its specific policies in relation to emissions targets, zero carbon legislation and the operation of the Emissions Trading Scheme. Until the appointment of a permanent Climate Change Commission, the Centre’s expertise will be required to assist the Government in its work.

Recent months has seen NZAGRC staff and scientists contribute to several international conferences. In April, Andy and I were involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 meeting in Edinburgh. This was followed by the International Symposium on Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases in the Netherlands, at which Jeroen Dijkman gave the keynote address, and our chairing of the International Greenhouse Gas and Animal Agriculture Conference in Brazil.

Our Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ackim Mwape, has been active in workshops in Africa, culminating in him being interviewed on prime-time television news in South Africa. Details of his work and some of the other conferences follow in this newsletter.

Finally, Laura Kearney has been immersed in her work with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and industry organisations to support a major farmers’ outreach initiative. The outreach has several elements, including videos to explain the role of methane and what steps farmers can take to reduce emissions, articles appearing in the farming press, seminars for rural professionals, and a new website which will act as a repository for information about primary production and climate change.

This work is continuing and the project will expand in the months to come. You can read more about it and other aspects of the Centre’s work below.


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