“There is still critical work to be done on the Zero Carbon Bill and its methane targets to ensure the Bill achieves its own objectives,” says Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) chief executive Sam McIvor.
“A bipartisan and pragmatic approach to finalising the Zero Carbon Bill would provide ongoing clarity and certainty for the sector. There is still work to do on the Zero Carbon Bill to make it effective and fair. We urge all parties in Parliament to focus on pragmatic solutions that achieve that outcome.
“B+LNZ, alongside others in the agricultural sector, have engaged constructively on climate change issues with Government over the last year or so, to influence legislation that meets our shared objectives of keeping warming below 1.5°C while ensuring a vibrant future for our farmers, our rural communities, and all New Zealanders.”
The sector supports the overall objectives of the Bill, and key structural elements such as an independent Climate Change Commission, clear emissions budgets, and a split-gas approach that recognises the short-lived nature of biogenic methane.
However, it has not been possible to achieve consensus on the science that should underpin the actual methane target. B+LNZ continues to be strongly opposed to the Government’s methane reduction range of 24-47 percent, as it is higher than the Government’s own science and policy advice.
B+LNZ has been committed to a science-based approach to setting emissions reduction targets from the beginning and believes it is important for farmers that greater certainty is achieved sooner rather than later.
“We urge the Government to bring forward the planned review of the methane target by the independent Climate Change Commission as soon as possible, preferably alongside the work of setting the first emissions budgets,” says McIvor.
“The sheep and beef sector is committed to moving towards being climate neutral by 2050, having already reduced our absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent since 1990. A key part of achieving our 2050 targets is certainty of the operating environment. This will enable sheep and beef farmers to plan effectively to mitigate and offset emissions, including getting credit for carbon sequestration by the 1.4 million hectares of native forests on our farms.”