New Zealand's primary sector has praised the Climate Change Commission report released yesterday, but say it will need close analysis over the coming weeks.
"The Commission has offered sound, depoliticised advice for agriculture emissions that acknowledge New Zealand's world-leading low emissions footprint," Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard said.
The report was over 800 pages long and contained an enormous amount of detailed data assessment, Feds said.
Hoggard was pleased with the report's focus on "pushing harder to get solutions from science and technology," as "farmers are totally about that too."
However, if agriculture was to achieve the targets suggested in the report, every Kiwi would need to be open to a discussion about technologies such as methane vaccines, feed inhibitors and gene edited grasses, Hoggard said.
Meanwhile, DairyNZ praised the report's acknowledgement of a split gas approach and that methane did not need to reduce to net zero.
The Commission's science-based approach was ambitious and challenging for all of New Zealand, and farming was no exception, DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle said.
DairyNZ would be paying particular attention to the biogenic methane targets and advice on reducing stock numbers, Mackle said.
"The short-term 2030 and 2035 methane targets are ambitious, making the next 10-15 years the most important for adapting farm systems and investment in research and development solutions for agriculture."
Mackle said it was encouraging to see the Commission's recommendations for the Government to focus on research and development and rural broadband as solutions to support agriculture to reduce emissions.
"Climate policy is incredibly complex. Yes, science sits at its core – but there are also economic, social and political implications to be considered."
"New Zealand dairy farmers are already the world's most emissions efficient, so it's a balance between farming sustainably, maintaining international competitiveness and running a viable business."
Beef + Lamb New Zealand was encouraged by the report's focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions, and its recognition that large-scale forestry planting was not the long-term solution.
However, farmers would have liked greater recognition for their own conservation work, which had been happening on sheep and beef farms over the last few decades, B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor said.
Sheep and beef farmers had reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 per cent since 1990 while improving productivity and generating export value for the country, McIvor said.
"Furthermore, research by the Auckland University of Technology has found the 1.4 million hectares of woody vegetation on New Zealand sheep and beef farms is sucking up between 63 per cent and 118 per cent of our on-farm agricultural emissions."
Farmers would be concerned with a number of areas in the report, including the commission's advice of a 15 per cent reduction in livestock numbers, McIvor said.
"We now need time to analyse the advice in-depth as this report has significant implications for our farmers and rural communities."