Federated Farmers says proposals to tackle climate change can work as long as there is cross-party support backed by a Climate Commission which has informed science.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, outlined nine recommendations in a report, A Zero Carbon Act for New Zealand. They're aimed at ensuring New Zealand sets effective carbon budgets, establishes a credible Climate Change Commission and drives plans and policies that actually turn into action.
"The Federation supports the thrust of Mr Upton's report," says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers climate change spokesperson.
"It's particularly pleasing to see that the Commissioner's report acknowledges the complexity there is around different greenhouse gases and how each gas — whether methane, nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide — has different effects on the climate, and how they need to be managed.
"For example, the report regards methane as a less urgent problem against more persistent greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide," says Andrew.
The Federation wants the government to consider the commentary in the report supporting potential use of targets for different greenhouse gases to ensure that emission reduction targets are achievable and fair.
"It is worth noting that carbon dioxide emissions related to road transport have increased by 78 per cent since 1990, compared to methane, which has increased 5 per cent.
"This surely emphasises that while agricultural emissions are part of the problem, there needs to be a pragmatic and balanced approach to tackling how this country manages and reduces all greenhouse gases."
Federated Farmers seeks public policy that supports New Zealand's natural advantages in agricultural production, such as further investment in research to reduce biological agricultural emissions where cost-effective mitigation technologies can assist farmers.
"Farmers have and continue to make reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product. We are particularly efficient at this compared to other countries.
"It's important that the Government pursues a Zero Carbon Act and establishes a Climate Change Commission that makes decisions which aren't detrimental to our international competitiveness as a food producer," says Andrew.