The New Zealand agriculture, land use and forestry sector has been ranked No 1 of 32 nations for the way it is getting to grips with climate change issues.
“With environmental NGOs and commentators regularly pointing the finger of blame at our farmers it’s pleasing to see an independent and in-depth assessment tell a very different story,” Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard said.
For its just-published Net Zero Readiness Index (NZRI), global consultancy KPMG examined 103 indicators of commitment and performance on decarbonizing in 32 countries, which together are responsible for around three-quarters of global emissions.
It ranked our overall national performance at No 9, with Norway, the UK and Sweden taking out the top three places.
But on the agriculture, land use and forestry league table, New Zealand was at No 1, with the report’s authors noting our high levels of forest biomass, low levels of food loss, a comparatively high number of agricultural clean tech companies and the He Waka Eke Noa government and food and fibre sector climate action partnership.
Other comments in the report on the global agricultural scene also resonated with Federated Farmers, Andrew said.
“Unlike so many other studies and commentaries, KPMG recognises that feeding the world has to be balanced with emissions reductions.
“And particularly pertinent to New Zealand, the Net Zero Readiness Index report says gene editing could allow significant progress for food producers in the drive to limit global warming, ‘but many governments are opposed’…with their views ‘often based on older and less sophisticated genetic modification technologies’.”
The report noted that reducing methane is a big issue for New Zealand, given livestock agriculture makes up a large share of our economy. Andrew said the technologies KPMG identified, such as low-emission feeds, future breeding programs and methane vaccines, will be key for our farmers, who already boast the lowest emissions in the world per kilogram of meat and milk produced.
While New Zealand ranked No 1 for agriculture, land use and forestry in the NZRI’s sector analysis on decarbonization action and preparedness, we didn’t do so well for the four other sectors. For electricity and heat we ranked 6th of 32; for transport we were 30th; for buildings 19th, and for industry 15th.