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Greenpeace: Agriculture Still Tops Emissions, So Where’s The Action?



The latest inventory of New Zealand’s climate pollution
shows, yet again, that the Government must take urgent
action to make farming part of the climate solution, says
Greenpeace.

The Ministry for the Environment today
released its 2019
inventory of greenhouse gas emissions
. Climate pollution
is on the rise and agriculture is still New Zealand’s
biggest climate polluter, contributing 48% of NZ’s
emissions.

Greenpeace senior campaigner Steve Abel
says the report comes as no surprise, when we’ve known for
years that industrial dairying is driving agricultural
emissions.

“We know that the rampant overstocking of
cows leads to methane and nitrous oxide emissions from cow
digestion and urine, and from the half million tonnes of
synthetic nitrogen fertiliser applied to the land every
year,” says Abel.

“These greenhouse gases are no joke.
Nitrous oxide is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide
in terms of climate heating, and methane has a global
heating force that is 85 times greater than carbon dioxide
over 20 years.”

An international study has shown that
even if the world stopped burning all fossil fuels tomorrow,
we would still overshoot the 1.5 degree global heating
target that New Zealand has signed onto as part of the Paris
Climate Agreement – thanks to the way we’re growing food.
(1)

“As
the climate heats up, it’s set to cause more frequent and
intense floods, fires and droughts. We know farmers are
already fearing the effects of the climate crisis,” says
Abel.

“Jacinda Ardern called the climate crisis her
generation’s ‘nuclear free moment’, and vowed to take
action. The Ardern Government has declared a climate
emergency, but we’re still waiting for meaningful action
on NZ’s biggest climate polluter – industrial
agriculture.

“This is an opportunity for Aotearoa to
lead the world in climate-friendly farming. New Zealand is
already doing some things right, and there are hundreds of
regenerative and organic farmers across the country farming
in ways that work with nature, not against
it.”

Greenpeace is calling on the Government to take a
multi-pronged approach to tackling agricultural climate
pollution by phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and
imported feed, such as palm kernel expeller, and supporting
farmers to shift to regenerative organic farming.

“New
Zealand’s farmers are a capable bunch who overwhelmingly
want to do right by their animals, communities, rivers and
the planet. The Government must make it easier for willing
farmers to shift their farms to being part of the climate
solution,” says Abel.

“We can have a thriving
countryside with a lot fewer cows grazing alongside other
animals, crops and trees, on soil rich and alive with
beneficial bugs and bacteria, and with clean rivers running
through farms. We can have a country where our farming
system is part of the climate
solution.”

 

(1) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6517/705

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