New Zealand will contribute $45 million over four years to the Global Research Alliance on agriculture greenhouse gases, Climate Change Issues Minsiter Tim Groser and Agriculture Minsiter David Carter announced.
Ministers from 20 countries last night joined New Zealand to establish the Alliance which brings together public and private researchers.
“New Zealand is pleased to have been able to pull together such a diverse range of countries, including major players like the United States and India, to work together on finding practical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
“This Alliance will be a credible force for ensuring the resources, research capability and international goodwill to reduce farm emissions while ensuring food production meets the demands of a growing world population,” says Mr Groser.
Founding Alliance member countries are Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
The Alliance – proposed by Prime Minister John Key at the UN General Assembly in September – has been heavily promoted by NZ ministers as a constructive initiative that brings developed and developing countries together on reducing emissions from livestock, cropping and rice production.
Mr Groser says the commitment is a significant step in boosting the profile of agriculture greenhouse gas research internationally.
“14 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture, but for New Zealand and parts of the developing world, that figure is much higher. There is an urgent need to develop technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration in agriculture while enhancing food security,” says Mr Groser.
Agriculture Minister David Carter says the Government is confident the Global Research Alliance will help the world’s food producers keep their emissions to the minimum possible, and play an important role in overall global mitigation efforts.
“The Alliance is one of a suite of measures the Government is working on to address agriculture emissions, including the domestic Centre for Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Research, based at AgResearch, and the amended Emissions Trading Scheme passed last month.
“Other efforts include greenhouse gas footprint projects for primary producers and trials of carbon sequestration techniques such as biochar.
“The culmination of these measures will be a big step towards assisting New Zealand farmers to meet their climate change obligations,” Mr Carter says.
Global Research Alliance members will meet early in 2010 in New Zealand to establish working groups, and discuss priority setting and opportunities for encouraging participation.
Regardless of the motivation, international co-operation on agricultural research is a positive move.