'We're all in this together': Farming group responds to greenhouse gas emissions report

  • 27/06/2019

A farming lobby group says new data on greenhouse gas emissions shows that every sector of society needs to lift their game, not just the rural sector.

Stats NZ says household emissions increased by 19.3 percent between 2007 and 2017, mainly due to rising emissions from road transport.

Dairy cattle farming was the only agriculture industry to record an increase between 2007 and 2017 (up 27.7 percent), while it declined in other agricultural areas, through increasing productivity on the farm.

Federated Farmers climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said the data showed the issue wasn't isolated to the rural community.

"It's just as we've been saying for years on the topic of water quality, we're all in this together and we'll solve it by everyone doing their bit," he said.

Andrew Hoggard said it was time for every New Zealander to look at their lifestyles and choices, particularly in terms of transport.
Andrew Hoggard said it was time for every New Zealander to look at their lifestyles and choices, particularly in terms of transport. Photo credit: Supplied

Total emissions decreased by 0.9 percent between 2007 and 2017, with greenhouse gases emitted by agriculture dropping at a rate of 0.1 percent each year. 

"These small reductions came during a decade when agriculture's contribution to GDP grew at a rate of 1.8 percent, indicating increased production efficiency," said Hoggard.

He said growth in dairy emissions was offset by reductions by sheep, beef and grain farming.

"New Zealand has an unusual emissions profile worldwide because we rely so much on our primary industries to earn our living in the world."

However, he said carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, not methane from animals, was the real climate change culprit.

"Instead of expecting farmers to do all the heavy lifting, it's time for every New Zealander to look at their lifestyles and choices, particularly in terms of transport," 

He also took a dig at the Government's billion trees programme.

"Planting out thousands of hectares of productive farmland with pine trees isn't a long-term and sustainable answer to the problem."

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