DairyNZ's senior policy advisor for climate change, Kara Lok spoke to The Country Early Edition's Rowena Duncum about reports from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and what they mean for the New Zealand dairy industry.
In July 2017 the outgoing Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, released a report titled Stepping Stones to Paris.
The report recommended New Zealand follow the UK model of appointing an independent Climate Change Commission to propose carbon budgets as a means of ensuring New Zealand meet its obligations under the Paris agreement to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
On 6 March 2018, the new Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, released a follow-on report titled A Zero Carbon Act for New Zealand, which revisited the recommendations.
Mr Upton supports introducing a similar climate change framework to the UK and has some areas where he recommends further consideration is required given New Zealand's unique emissions profile and context.
New Zealand has a unique emissions profile for a developed country, with 22.5 per cent of emissions from agriculture compared to 9.41 per cent average in other countries.
Lok says DairyNZ is supportive of both reports because "at this point in time we have very little clarity as the dairy industry and dairy farmers on how we can actually reduce our emissions and the pathways to doing that."
Introducing a similar framework to the UK actually provides dairy farmers with more certainty of what their role is in the transitions to a lower emissions economy.
Lok says it is critical that there is support across political parties for the approach taken by the Government in implementing these recommendations.