Greenpeace's Russel Norman says unless Government's Emissions Reduction Plan has significant drop in agriculture and dairy emissions it's not credible

Greenpeace says the Government needs to include a significant reduction in agricultural and dairy emissions in its Emissions Reduction Plan. 

The plan, which is being released today, will detail how the country will meet its first-ever emissions budget.

Last week the Government announced the first three 'emissions budgets' which are being supported by both Labour and National. 

Under the Zero Carbon Act, the Government must release emissions budgets detailing the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be put into the atmosphere over a certain period of time. The budgets must be met through domestic action alone.  

Last Monday Climate Change Minister James Shaw revealed the first three budgets as:

Emissions Budget 1 (2022–2025): 290 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases

Emissions Budget 2 (2026–2030): 305 megatonnes

Emissions Budget 3 (2031–2035): 240 megatonnes

Ahead of the Government's plan being released, Greenpeace is calling for significant reductions in agriculture and dairy emissions. 

Speaking with AM's Ryan Bridge, Greenpeace NZ Executive Director Russel Norman said unless the plan includes such reductions it can't be considered credible. 

"We significantly need to move from this industrial agriculture model to a regenerative organic one which has much lower intensity, you're not going to have 6 million dairy cows with that model," Norman said on Monday. 

"So unless the plan has significant reductions in agricultural and dairy emissions, which means synthetic nitrogen fertiliser - phasing that out, it means lowering the herd, if the plan doesn't have that, it's not really a credible plan."

Last week Shaw said the bipartisan support for the budget gives New Zealanders a sense of certainty on future climate change policy.

"One of the main reasons that it has taken us so long as a country to get started on the path of cutting our emissions is because climate change policy has been so politicised and so subject to the back and forth vagaries of the political cycle," he told a special parliamentary debate last week.

"But it is a generational challenge. It requires a level of consistency across governments and across decades and the critical thing about this framework is that the imperative is set and the direction of travel is clear."

But despite supporting the budget, National is already warning that doesn't mean it will support the Government's plan to meet them. 

Meanwhile, ACT has poured cold water on the Emissions Reduction Plan, saying it's' not necessary and that improving the Emissions Trading Scheme is a better idea. 

Te Pāti Māori is pessimistic, arguing the budgets don't go far enough.  

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