The first review of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets will include new research that claims methane goals unfairly burden the livestock industry and do not reflect its warming impact.
Climate Change Commission chief scientist Grant Blackwell said next year’s review will firstly consider if there has been or is likely to be significant new evidence or “a new global context for change”.
“Then we need to determine if that significant change justifies a change to the emissions reduction target.”
A new report from academics at the universities of Oxford and Cranfield released this week says current methane emission reduction targets do not reflect methane’s warming effects – and that disproportionately penalises livestock farmers.
Commissioned by Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers, the report calculates that current methane targets are so ambitious, they would, if realised, offset all of NZ’s expected additional warming from carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide up to 2050.
Blackwell said the methane study is one of many submissions from individuals, community groups, NGOs, research institutions, businesses and industry bodies from a wide range of sectors.
“We’re reviewing and considering every piece of information we received and will use it where appropriate to inform our analysis on whether NZ’s emissions reduction target should be changed.”
It is possible that several changes could act in opposition to each other, effectively balancing each other.
“This analysis is what we’re working on now.
“We provide advice to help the government determine the best choice for NZ under the current, and predicted, circumstances.”
Blackwell said the commission has always been clear that there is no one right path to achieve emission reduction targets, but notes that each possible choice comes with consequences.
Consultation will start in the first half of next year with the final advice to be delivered to the minister of climate change by the end of the year.