Govt must be straight-up with farmers on agricultural emissions

National needs to be straight-up with farmers and make it clear that business-as-usual farming can’t continue if we are to maintain a safe climate for this and future generations, the Green Party said today.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released a new report today on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions showing that no scientific silver bullet to eliminate agricultural emissions is on the horizon, and that large-scale tree planting and land-use change is needed.

“National isn't doing farmers any favours by telling them no change is needed while the Government searches for a scientific silver bullet that may never exist,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

"The Government should instead be leading the way to re-think how we farm, where we farm and what we farm to try to reduce our emissions. It’s a challenge, but we have to face the fact that business-as-usual farming isn’t compatible with keeping our climate safe.

“There are already opportunities available to increase profitability and lower emissions, such as reduce stocking rates, diversifying land use, and switching to organic farming methods.

“In the long term, the most profitable farmers will be those who respond to the challenge of climate change early and find more efficient, low-emission ways of growing food and fibre products.

“The PCE’s report also shows that a million hectares of marginal farm land could be converted into native forest, offsetting up to 17 percent of biological emissions. Including agriculture in the emissions trading scheme is essential to making this happen. It would also have significant benefits for our native biodiversity," said Mr Shaw.

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