Government Appoints Independent Panel To Review Methane Emissions

Government Appoints Independent Panel To Review Methane Emissions

The Government has announced the formation of an independent panel to review the science and targets related to methane emissions from agriculture. 

This initiative aims to ensure that agricultural emissions do not contribute to additional global warming, according to Climate Change Minister Simon Watts and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.

“An independent panel, announced today, will provide evidence-based advice on our biogenic methane target to ensure no additional warming,” stated Minister Watts. 

The panel is set to deliver its findings by the end of the year.

The panel will be chaired by Nicola Shadbolt, a former climate change commissioner, respected farmer, academic, and director with extensive governance experience. The rest of the panel consists of Professor David Frame, a Physics Professor at the University of Canterbury, Dr Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher, a Principal Scientist at NIWA, Dr Laura Revell, an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury's School of Physical and Chemical Sciences and Professor Bill Collins, a Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Earth Systems Modelling at the University of Reading.

Minister McClay emphasised the importance of the panel’s work in complementing the Climate Change Commission’s review of the 2050 targets.

“The Government is committed to meeting our climate change obligations without shutting down Kiwi farms. We need to make sure our targets are fair and sustainable,” he said.

He highlighted New Zealand farmers as some of the world's most carbon-efficient food producers, stressing that offshoring production to less efficient countries would be counterproductive.

To support the reduction of agricultural emissions, the Government is investing over $400 million in the next four years. This investment includes an additional $50.5 million over five years to enhance the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre.

The upcoming consultation on the second emissions reduction plan will provide more detailed strategies to support the agricultural sector in lowering emissions.

This initiative underscores the Government's commitment to balancing climate change obligations with sustainable agricultural practices, ensuring that New Zealand continues to lead in carbon-efficient food production.