Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAS) High Level Assembly, United Nations, New York

Kia Ora and Warm Pacific Greetings.

The IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land is unequivocal: reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors is essential if global warming is to be kept to well below 2°C, if not 1.5°C. Changes to the global agriculture and food system are necessary if we are to address climate change, eliminate hunger and halt biodiversity loss.

There are many challenges that lie ahead of us to achieve the level of transformation needed to scale up efforts in ways that support small-scale farmers, improve the productivity of farms, build resilience, and significantly reduce emissions, particularly methane and black carbon, across the entire agricultural system.

Methane from agriculture is one of the largest sources of short-lived climate pollutants. It’s a significant issue for New Zealand, accounting for 43 percent of our total emissions.

To address it, we’ve done what we think is a world first: in our Zero Carbon Bill legislation currently going through Parliament, there is a target to reduce biogenic methane emissions to 10 per cent below 2017 levels by 2030.

Besides legislating reductions, countries can also spur action by incorporating ambitious and directed inclusion of agriculture and food systems in enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs), ideally submitted by 2020, but also subsequent to that in line with the Paris Agreement to drive changes in those sectors.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is well placed to work with Partners such as the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, where New Zealand leads the Livestock Research Group, to coordinate and promote greater global action to reduce methane emissions. And the CCAC’s Agriculture Initiative can assist its Partners to set ambitious, but realistic targets for their agricultural emissions.

Finally, if we are to collectively deliver ambitious action to reduce short lived climate pollutants from agriculture while achieving the triple win, there needs to be a much greater level of targeted investment. I urge you all to consider how we can make this happen.