Gas aware­ness con­trib­utes to rise

South Waikato News - - Your Health - JILL GALLOWAY

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.

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