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Commission Report Loses Sight Of Sustainable Agriculture


The Climate Change Commission’s report, Inaia tonu nei,
has addressed the need to make radical changes in transport,
electricity and waste minimisation to prevent serious
climate problems for the future. [1]

However the
report fails to consider the best solution for agriculture
in that would accelerate the reduction in greenhouse gas
emissions by supporting farmers to transition to
regenerative organic sustainable agriculture.

Whilst
the report claims to reflect the essence of submissions on
the importance of systemic change toward regenerative
organic agriculture for cutting green house emissions, it
provides flimsy justification for its lack of
recommendations for necessary action.

The report seems
to equate innovation in agriculture to cost recovery
technological tweaks rather than innovation towards
sustainability through behavioural and systems
change.

“It is sad that the Commission is still
focused on protecting agricultural practices that have led
to soil degradation, high nitrogen fertiliser, fossil fuel
pesticide inputs leading to increased greenhouse gas
emissions, rather than farming practices that reduce and
protect the environment,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for
GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

There is a major
threat to effectively addressing climate change in pursuit
of ‘intellectual property’ to profiteer from unproven,
costly and polluting technological fixes. These fixes ignore
existing tangible and effective farming systems that can be
taken now.

The report says “[Organic]…farms
produce less than conventional farms do, but often remain
profitable because of their ability to reduce inputs and
attract product premiums.” and regenerative farming does
not have enough “robust evidence base to understand the
emissions benefits … nor a credible certification market
for products.” These statements are inaccurate and
ignorant of the true nature and productivity of regenerative
organic farming.

Certified Organic farming is highly
profitable, resilient and sustainable with much evidence
that shows it can mitigate and not impact on greenhouse gas
emissions. The Organic standards have shown that a reduction
in stocking rates, lack of synthetic inputs and greater
diversity achieves the projected goals of the commission.
Yet they have ignored this in their final
summation.

The Rodale Institute has detailed research
evidence to show that regenerative organic farming conserves
and mitigates the loss of greenhouse gasses to the
environment and protects the soil ecosystems thereby
retaining much needed resilience in extreme weather
conditions; nutrient cycling for plants, creating healthier
food. [2]

“The Commission’s report is seriously
flawed by not recommending behavioural change to help
farmers shift to regenerative organic farming and
‘nature-based’ solutions, including soil carbon
sequestration,” said Mr. Carapiet.

We hope the
Minister for Climate Change will understand the need to
support urgent education and funding for implementation and
adoption of organic and regenerative farming models in light
of the climate crisis.

References –
[1] https://ccc-production-media.s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/public/Inaia-tonu-nei-a-low-emissions-future-for-Aotearoa/Inaia-tonu-nei-a-low-emissions-future-for-Aotearoa.pdf

[2]
https://rodaleinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Rodale-Soil-Carbon-White-Paper_v11-compressed.pdf 
 

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