Wednesday, 25 April 2018 12:55

Climate change committee just needs a farmer

Written by 
Tim Mackle. Tim Mackle.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle supports the new Interim Climate Change Committee, however he is concerned that it has no member with actual farm knowledge. 

“This understanding and experience is vital in order to understand how different mitigations impact on the farm system,” Mackle says.

The six-member committee will he headed by Dr David Prentice, most recently chief executive of the infrastructure firm Opus International Consultants.

The deputy chair is Lisa Tumahai, who is experienced in governance and is a director of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. 

Other committee members are Dr Harry Clark, a New Zealand expert on agricultural greenhouse gas research; Dr Keith Turner, former chief executive of Meridian and a professional director; Dr Jan Wright, former parliamentary commissioner for the environment; and Dr Suzi Kerr, known internationally for her expertise in the economics of climate change policy and emissions trading.

 Mackle says the members’ expertise will move NZ’s economy towards a low emission future.

The interim committee will consider agriculture’s role in meeting NZ’s greenhouse reduction targets and whether agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions should face a price in the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme.

“DairyNZ [will help] our levy payers do their part to address on farm emissions,” says Mackle. “The dairy industry must do its part alongside the wider economy to reduce and offset NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Climate Change Minister James Shaw referred to the members’ expertise in areas related to climate change: agriculture, agribusiness, climate change science and policy, resource economics and impacts, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, te reo me ona tikanga Māori and Māori interests, international competitiveness, and energy production and supply.

“We need work to start now on how agriculture might enter into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS), and we need planning now for the transition to 100% renewable electricity generation by 2035,” says Shaw.

 An independent climate change commission will be set up under the Zero Carbon Act in May next year.

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