Public release of evidence that agriculture is contributing to additional warming
We are writing to you to request, on behalf of the thousands of farmers we represent, that you release to the public any modelling or data that supports your implied position that agriculture is contributing to additional warming of the climate.
Farmers have a right to measure their progress towards the Paris Agreement objective of limiting warming to 1.5° C, thus appropriate modelling and data is essential. The modelling of agriculture’s warming effect is critical to the long-term viability of our industry. Without it, farmers have no ability to measure progress towards the goal of the Paris Agreement and no ability to reassure consumers that our produce is not harming the climate.
The Climate Change Commission and Ministry for the Environment have both independently confirmed to Groundswell NZ that the current emissions reduction targets have not been set to offset warming from our industry but go much further and require farmers to help offset warming produced by other sectors of the economy. Is this also your position? If so, we request you state this publicly in the interests of full transparency.
In previous engagements with the CCC and MfE, Groundswell NZ has proposed an interim emissions reduction target of ‘no additional warming’. The intention of this target was to promote a more scientific approach to emissions reductions and reassure the public that farming is sustainable and is not harming the climate.
Both the CCC and MfE declined to work with farmers to define and set an interim ‘no additional warming’ target, stating that the agricultural emission targets do not reflect agriculture’s contribution to climate change but are instead set at a level to help offset warming produced by other sectors of the economy. Farmers are being asked to produce a net atmospheric cooling effect for the purpose of offsetting other emitters.
Groundswell NZ would also like to extend an offer to collaborate constructively to develop an interim emissions reduction target of ‘no additional warming’ from agriculture. We believe this is achievable in the short-term and we would contribute in any ways we can towards making a climate neutral agricultural sector a reality.
Bryce McKenzie and Laurie Paterson