Greens say climate report targets 'achievable' but farmers anticipate tough changes

Climate Minister James Shaw says the targets set in the Climate Change Commission's report are achievable but Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard warns it will require a few tough changes for farmers.

The report, which was released on Sunday, shows how New Zealand could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement.

It sets three new targets: a 2 percent reduction on 2018 greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, 17 percent by 2030, and 36 percent by 2035.

In order to achieve them, the commission is recommending New Zealand focuses on investing in electric vehicles, renewable energy generation, decreasing the number of cows, and planting more native forests.

Shaw, who is also the co-leader of the Green Party, told The AM Show that he considered the report's targets to be both "achievable and affordable".

"I think that is different to some of the reports we have seen previously where we have seen people resisting to take climate action because they felt it was too expensive," he said. "But what the commission is saying is we already have the technology available to us to be able to make these cuts to our pollution and to the atmosphere and that the cost to the country is negligible and in fact may end up being a positive."

However the president of Federated Farmers Andrew Hoggard said while he was reasonably happy with the report, it will take big changes from farmers to achieve.

"There is some stuff in there that we are pretty pleased with," Hoggard said, noting the report showed the need to move away from pine forestation and put emphasis on native forests.

He said one of the main challenges for farmers would be trying to produce the same amount of milk with only half the country's cows.

"Our challenge is how are we going to increase that productivity from those cows while still maintaining our grass-based system. It's do-able but it's bloody challenging and it requires your farmers to be on their game every single day of the year - for every minute of the year. It's very challenging."

One of the report's big pushes was to increase the number of electric vehicles on Kiwi roads and decrease the use of petrol-fuelled vehicles.

Hoggard said he had concerns about how it will affect farmers who generally use older vehicles.

"My staff generally don't buy the flashiest cars and if cars are going to go up in price, is that going to be a barrier to get people to work on farms? Which then creates a barrier to get more efficient."

But Shaw told The AM Show the Government is planning on creating an incentive scheme to help motivate Kiwis to buy electric.

"The Prime Minister did indicate that there would be some kind of incentive scheme to at least equalise the cost."

He also defended the Government's fleet, which remains predominantly filled with petrol-run vehicles, saying it is up to each section of the Government to work towards their own targets.