Reducing emissions major task – Federated Farmers

Reducing emissions major task – Federated Farmers

This week 138 world leaders will converge on Paris for COP21. It's the most important climate conference in history.

But while threatened cities like Dunedin are demanding action from politicians, Federated Farmers is calling for understanding.

From the hundreds on the streets of Tokyo to tens of thousands in Sydney's Domain, all over the globe the message is the same – climate change affects us all.

In Dunedin it's now growing concern.

"The PCE was very clear – sea level rise is an issue, particularly here in Dunedin and south Dunedin. And that's why thousands of New Zealanders have been marching," says Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

But the chants and demonstrations will not be enough; curing climate change will.

And for New Zealand, where the biggest source of greenhouse gases is farming, reducing emissions will be a major task.

"There aren't any magic bullets. Their only option is to stop producing. That's actually not a particularly viable way of keeping yourself in business and supporting your family," says Anders Crofoot from Federated Farmers.

Agricultural emissions, which are mostly methane, account for nearly half of our greenhouse gases.

Federated Farmers says the sector will struggle to reduce emissions without economic pain.

"You could reduce emissions by 30 percent by reducing 30 percent of your cows, but I'm not sure how many people are keen on taking 30 percent cuts to their income," saysMr Crofoot.

It's hoped that science could provide the solution. Researchers have been working for years to try reduce our agricultural emissions, and the Prime Minister's optimistic a breakthrough is on the way.

"I'm absolutely confident we will. The scientists that are working on it tell me they're getting closer, and there's a lot of money being thrown at that," says John Key.

It's proof of how technology could help buy the world time to avert the worst effects of global warming.

One simple idea is to paint cities white to reflect the sun's rays. Another is to have self-supporting vessels shooting sea water into the clouds to make them whiter, and yet another is to have tubes spraying mist out into the stratosphere 25 kilometres up to block the sun.

Climate scientists have spoken to 3 News to say emissions from farming could take years to solve, but there is a course of action we can take right away.

We already have the answers for cleaner transport and energy, so reducing our emissions shouldn't have to wait.

3 News