Gas awareness contributes to rise
More farmers are aware of the impact of livestock on global warming, says an agricultural greenhouse research expert.
New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre director Dr Harry Clark said farmer awareness of their greenhouse gas contribution was at a much higher level than 15 years ago.
This extended to growing recognition of international agreement to cut greenhouse gases, such as the Paris agreement, he said.
‘‘There is growing awareness now of the unusual greenhouse gas profile here, dominated by agriculture,’’ he told about 150 people at the recent mitigation of greenhouse gas conference in Palmerston North. ‘‘To meet our international commitments, we have to think carefully about what we do with the agricultural sector. I think 15 years ago, you wouldn’t have seen that awareness.’’ However, other than more efficient production, greenhouse mitigation on New Zealand farms was years away, Clark said.
‘‘Worldwide in general in the developed world people are more aware, but in very poor countries they have other things to think about, such as food supply and food safety.’’
The research centre was funded by the Government and overseas investment. Clark said it would be true to say that politicians were engaged.
Farmer awareness in developing nations often centred on how to adapt to climate change such as coping with more rain or more desert, rather than halting greenhouse gas production, he said.
‘‘But in New Zealand, we have these strong international agreements, on reducing climate change.’’
He said many emissions in the US and Europe came from industrial also more plants, such as power plants and from cars.
‘‘You can get electric cars, and cleaner plants and a lot of those emissions will come down. Then unfortunately the focus will go on agriculture.’’
To get emissions down so global warming was 2 degrees Celsius or less, carbon dioxide emissions would have to hit zero this century, he said.
That needed to happen against the backdrop of another two or three billion people.