The New Zealand government has committed NZ$710 million (€430 million) over the next four years to speed up efforts to lower agricultural emissions.
The funding will come from the country’s NZ$4.5 billion (€1.7 billion) climate emergency response fund. New Zealand is aiming to hit net zero emissions by 2050.
An emissions reduction plan announced today (Monday, May 16) includes supports to increase the numbers of electric cars, reducing waste going to landfill, cleaner public transport and transitioning away from coal.
“This is a landmark day in our transition to a low-emissions future,” New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said.
The announcement includes a new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions which will develop products to reduce emissions from the sector.
In its budget for 2022, the country’s government has allocated just over NZ$6 million to support the implementation of a pricing system for agricultural emissions.
There will also be funding for forestry to develop alternatives to fossil fuels, boost carbon storage and increase sequestration.
The government said that it will provide over NZ$36 million to support producers and Maori entities to transition to a low-emissions future.
Commenting on the announcement, the country’s Minister for Agriculture, Damien O’Connor said:
“Our economic security depends on New Zealand’s food and fibre sector. It’s our biggest export earner but also our largest contributor to emissions, and if we don’t take action now we will be at risk as consumer preferences evolve.
“The key to our continued success rests on our ability to produce world-leading food and fibre products that keep pace with consumer expectations and maintain our clean and green brand,” he continued.
“This investment will not only sharpen our competitive edge in the future, it will also unlock opportunities for careers in agri-tech and generate export revenue through product development.
“The sooner tools are ready for farmers the sooner we move on our goal of biogenic methane reduction of 10% by 2030 and 24%-47% by 2050,” Minister O’Connor said.
The minister outlined that work is progressing with the private sector on how they can contribute their expertise and resources to reduce emissions in the agriculture sector.
Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said that NZ$73.5 million from Budget 2022 will go towards increasing woody biomass, which he said offers the best alternative to coal.
“We want to ensure we have home-grown clean energy solutions to replace the use of coal in industrial process heat. This will increase our energy security and means we are less reliant on coal.
“This new funding will increase New Zealand’s biomass supply by enabling planting of 10,000ha of forest,” Nash outlined.
“Forests can provide an abundant, natural resource to store carbon. Funding of NZ$256.2 million will go towards maximising the contribution of forestry in boosting carbon sequestration to achieve New Zealand’s future carbon goals,” the minister added.