New Zealand’s lead negotiator for COP24 Victoria Hatton argues farming smarter is the way to reduce livestock emissions
Agriculture’s part in the global climate response has special relevance for New Zealand. We are a small, trading nation whose economy is driven by the efficient production of high quality, nutritious food and the export success of our primary sectors: dairy, sheepmeat, beef, horticulture, seafood and forestry. This means that almost 50 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the agricultural sector – but to put this into context, our total contribution is less than 0.2 per cent of global emissions.
One of the challenges for agricultural nations is how to continue to produce food efficiently for a growing global population, reduce emissions and, as the climate continues to change, how to enable rural communities to adapt.
As the world takes stock of progress towards climate goals at COP24 Poland this week, there is a lot agricultural countries can learn from each other on how to reduce emissions from agriculture. Equally, other countries must take note. As they reduce their emissions from the industrial, energy and transport sectors through the relatively accessible switch to renewables, the tougher problem of tackling agricultural emissions – where there are currently no quick technological fixes – will start to bite.
Reducing the carbon hoofprint of livestock
Globally, livestock farming accounts for approximately 14.5 per cent of emissions but cutting down on eating livestock-sourced protein – milk and meat – is not necessarily the answer. Farming smarter is.
Sheep farming in New Zealand