Those with time to follow the news will have heard Simon Upton's most recent report has suggested Methane needs to drop by 10 to 22% by 2050. This is actually a good result for farmers as now we have agreed numbers to work with. The media has tried to spin how significant the warming affect from stabilised Methane is, but the reality is we only require a 0.3% annual reduction to avoid any warming! I expect the first 10 years or so will be offset by trees, after that there are plenty of mitigation options in development which should become mature by then.
NZ agriculture is still on target to prove we are warming neutral, the next hurdle is more specific information on Carbon sequestration. Once that is achieved my hope is, with the support of industry leaders, we can start making the case to the NZ public.
Farmers need to follow this closely, the politics of the Zero Carbon Bill is very anti-agriculture at the moment.
The suggestion from the report is only warming neutral will be sufficient for Methane. The 10-20% reduction is to offset climatic feedbacks to achieve this. CO2 also has significant feedbacks and simply being Carbon neutral by 2050 would not offset all warming, they would need to be Carbon negative. Apparently the same rules don't apply to CO2 emitters?
Its worth keeping in mind that CO2 emitters are causing almost all the warming in NZ and will do so until at least 2050. Government OIA responses show they still have no information to suggest agriculture is contributing to warming. Pure land use change politics!
Fair policy should be - Everyone pays the same amount of ETS relative to the warming they cause (if agriculture can prove it's warming neutral then that wont be very much)