NZIF: Agriculture can reduce its GHG emissions

2 December 2015

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry suggests there are cost-effective technologies that agriculture can use to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF) strongly disagrees with the Prime Minister when he states there is no technology agriculture can use to reduce emissions.

"Like every other emitter agriculture could buy NZUs on the market set up by the New Zealand Government for just this purpose," says NZIF President James Treadwell.

"Agriculture, unlike some other emitters, also has the opportunity to plant trees, either native or exotic, on their less productive land areas which will help offset their emissions.  We cannot understand how agriculture is any different from the transport or power sectors, both of which have to buy NZUs to offset their emissions.

"The $65 million pledged by the government to find a agriculture solution would plant over 30,000 hectares of forest. This forest could fix between 400,000 and 1,000,000 units per annum depending on the species planted. Current agriculture emissions, according to MfE, per annum are estimated to be 39,000 kt units (CO2 equivalent)."

Mr Treadwell says he is totally confused as to why the current government is blind to the solution and has refused to work with the forest sector.

"NZIF has been calling for increased planting of any tree species since the time the problem of climate change was first mooted; to date the sector has been ignored and shut out. It is foresters who have the skills and ability to save the planet from climate change, not the negotiators or politicians. Foresters just want the opportunity to do it."

Mr Treadwell calls on the government to meet with the sector and urgently agree a plan to start planting additional forest. The NZIF considers agriculture's entry into the ETS is the logical way for them to take responsibility for their emissions. The alternative is to continue to subsidise agriculture to the tune of $4.5 billion by 2020, as estimated by Treasury advice in March, released under the Official Information Act and reported by the New Zealand Herald.

Mr Treadwell acknowledges MfE's recent announcement of a goal to plant an additional 500,000 hectares by 2040 as a positive development and he looks forward to seeing this start immediately.

Source: NZIF media release. For more information, contact James Treadwell, President, NZ Institute of Forestry, Tel +64 (0) 220 434 511 or +64 4 974 8421