Greenhouse gas emissions rise again – SMC invites expert reaction

New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 2.2 per cent in 2017.

According to the annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory, emissions increased by 23.1 per cent between 1990 and 2017. This increase was largely driven by increases in road transport emission and fossil fuel-generated electricity production.

Key findings were:

  • New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 were 80.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e). Compared to 1990, this is a 23.1 per cent increase in emissions.
  • Continue reading

ETS revamp: averaging accounting for forests aims to have more trees planted

Changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) aim to result in 89 million more trees being planted in the coming years and an extra 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide stored in New Zealand’s forests.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced the changes to the ETS as part of broader reforms to make the scheme fit-for-purpose.

The  announcement includes the introduction of averaging accounting for all forests registered from January 1 2021 and the option to use the new accounting method for all forests registered in 2019 and 2020, Mr Jones said.

“By taking a long-term view of the amount of carbon in a production forest, averaging means forest owners will be able to trade more carbon (NZUs) at lower risk, and not have to worry about finding units to repay when they harvest.

“It’s essential the ETS provides the right incentives for forestry over the long term so we can deliver on our One Billion Trees programme as well as our commitment to taking action on climate change and supporting the transition to a low emissions future.

“We’ve heard from the forestry sector about the need to make the ETS simpler while increasing the incentives to plant trees – simpler accounting for the carbon stored in trees will make a positive difference for anyone considering investing in forestry.

The timing of the decision – as the 2019 planting season is about to get under way – should enable forest owners to go ahead with planting this year knowing they can choose the new system.  The Ministers hope this provides the certainty they’ve been seeking as a sector.

Mr Shaw said Cabinet had also agreed to several operational changes to streamline the ETS process for forest owners.

“We will improve the emissions rulings process where applicants can get an assessment of their land prior to investment and enable the use of a mapping instrument to make applications even easier,” he said.

“These proposals work together: the improved emissions ruling process will be in place once the legislation changes, while we develop the mapping instrument over the longer term.

“These changes to the ETS are part of a number of overlapping policy levers that aim to strike the right balance between production and protection. We need clean water and reduced greenhouse gasses. We also need food and employment, including in the regions.”

Besides these important forestry changes, the Government is developing more amendments to the ETS.

Mr Shaw said these changes will improve the ETS to support New Zealand’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and our transition to a low emissions future.

The Government aims to introduce the changes to Parliament around the middle of this year.

It is  also making the scheme fairer, and creating the ability for the Crown to make sure people are operating within the intended framework, Mr Shaw said.

Source:  Minister of Forestry and Minister for Climate Change

Climate Change Minister thanks environment watchdog for his ‘landscape’ emissions report

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has thanked the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment for his latest report examining an alternative approach to dealing with long-term climate change targets and policies.

AgScience had not found a link to the report when preparing this post.

But according to RNZ, the report says New Zealand must focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions rather than relying on forestry to absorb an increasing amount of greenhouse gases. Continue reading

Primary industries and the challenge of adapting to climate change

The challenge for primary industries adapting to climate change will be outlined by Nick Cradock-Henry, Senior Researcher in Social Science for Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, at the New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference 2019 (NZACCC), in Palmerston North on April 8-9.

Dr Cradock-Henry’s presentation will report on the results of an in-depth review of the state of adaptation science for New Zealand’s primary industries to determine exactly what is known, not known, and is needed to ensure successful adaptation for the sector.

Drawing on 10 years’ worth of impacts and adaptation research through the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) programme and a systematic review of published literature, its findings provide an up-to-date assessment of the state of adaptation science and its outcomes. Continue reading

Ministers announce changes to climate change committee’s terms of reference

Changes to the Terms of Reference for the Interim Climate Change Committee are intended to better prepare the Government to initiate meaningful change to key legislation, addressing the implications of a changing climate.

The changes were announced today by the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods.

When the interim committee was established in April last year it was intended findings would be delivered to the Independent Climate Change Commission.
Continue reading

Recent events signal need to prepare for climate change

This year’s Tasman fires and last year’s Cyclone Gita are giving the New Zealand public a taste of what could be coming as our climate changes, says Dr Judy Lawrence, Senior Research Fellow at the Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington.  This is part of the message she will be delivering to The New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference 2019, to be held in Palmerston North on April 8-9.

New Zealand’s most important agricultural conference on climate change for two years will bring together scientists, government policy advisors, farmers and industry leaders to discuss the theme of meeting the challenges of climate change with respect to farming.

Dr Lawrence was the co-chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working group that reported to Government in December 2017 and May 2018 with a stock-take of adaptation action and recommendations on adapting to climate change.

She says events like the Tasman fires and Cyclone Gita are a possible indication of things to come.

“Before that in 2017 the south of New Zealand experienced a very heavy rainfall event that stretched our resources. Coastal properties in low-lying roads have been flooded in Hawkes Bay, Wellington and the West Coast.

“In Bay of Plenty and the Coromandel, estuary margins are increasingly being flooded. These events will become more intense and, as the seas keep rising, flooding will be permanent in some areas and occur also on sunny days.”

Dr Lawrence says these ‘events’ underline the urgency of getting organised to deal with the changing climate risk profile that confronts this country.

She will outline several actions that can be taken to adapt to the challenges ahead, on the second day of the conference.

The conference, organised by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, will be held at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre, 354 Main Street.

Presentations will be given by New Zealand science, industry and policy leaders.

The programme will draw on published scientific work and the research projects being conducted by the Agricultural Gas Research Centre, the Pastoral Green Gas Research Consortium and by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Research Programme.

Attendance is free but registration is required. For more information or to register please go to https://www.nzagrc.org.nz/conference.html

New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference

New Zealand’s most important agricultural conference on climate change for two years – says the ill be held in Palmerston North on April 8-9. It will bring together scientists, government policy advisors, farmers and industry leaders to discuss the theme of meeting the challenges of climate change with respect to farming.

The New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference 2019 is being organised by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc).

The conference will be held at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre at 354 Main Street.

Sessions over the two days will cover how agriculture must adapt to climate change and what can be done to mitigate its effects globally and within New Zealand.

The programme will draw on published scientific work and the research projects being conducted by the NZAGRC-PGgRc and by MPI’s Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Research Programme (SLMACC).

Presentations will be given by New Zealand science, industry and policy leaders.

Attendance is free but registration is required.

For more information or to register go here.

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