Policy informed by AgResearch report

AgResearch work is informing government policy in the development of a national greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) are using an AgResearch 2011/12 GHG mitigation report to help them prepare a paper on potential abatement options. This paper will help inform New Zealand’s post -2020 intended nationally determined emissions contribution towards a new global climate change agreement which will be negotiated next year.

“Our report was produced at the request of MPI and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) who wanted a summary of the options we had available for GHG mitigation and an estimate of what the GHG reduction could be, should those options be adopted,” says AgResearch Principal Scientist and Science Impact Leader – Greenhouse Gases Dr Cecile De Klein.

“They wanted an overview of our current GHG mitigations options and an assessment of their impact on the total national methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture. Our report, funded by the NZAGRC and compiled by AgResearch researchers, is based on all of the New Zealand science available, which is largely conducted through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, the NZAGRC, MPI, MBIE and the fertiliser industry.”

The team started by developing a list of all the available mitigation options suitable for New Zealand and then determined the impact each option would have on the national GHG inventory calculations.

The report also rated each mitigation option based on the stage in the science process it was currently in.

“Ratings included theoretically possible, proof-of-concept, proven in animal – or systems trials and ready for adoption,” says Dr de Klein

“We then asked a range of New Zealand GHG experts from MPI, research organisations, the fertiliser industry and industry good organisations to make an assessment of the likelihood of any of these options being adopted in ten years.”

The report estimated the impact of each mitigation option assuming there was 100% adoption throughout all sectors and a ‘likely’ adoption, which used a weighting based on the average adoption value identified by the New Zealand experts.

The report was initially completed in 2011, but it subsequently went through a number of iterations including a sensitivity analysis looking at the impact of modifying some of the original assumptions.

“As part of the New Zealand Government’s preparations for international negotiations in 2015, which will set the country’s post-2020 intended nationally determined emissions contribution, our GHG mitigation report is being used as an input,” says Dr de Klein.

“This is really exciting for the team. It is wonderful to see our work being used in the development of such important policy.”