The Future is Equal

Oxfam Aotearoa launches a petition to help farmers curb climate pollution

Oxfam kicks-off the campaign with a petition that supporters will sign to get the New Zealand government to help our largest polluting sector – industrial farming – to evolve to sustainable food production.

Recently, the Climate Change Commission released a report that will be used by the government to plan what New Zealand will do to reduce climate pollution and what target to present at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this year. Despite some progress being made, the government’s current efforts will not do enough to protect us or communities in the Pacific from runaway climate destruction, or make sure that everyone has good, local food in the future.  

Large scale, intensive agriculture is responsible for 48% of New Zealand’s climate pollution. Oxfam Aotearoa’s Campaign Lead Alex Johnston says that right now, the government gives unsustainable farming practices a free pass to pollute, and props up an intensive model that treats farms like factories:  

“The land is overloaded with cows and chemicals that pollute waterways and cause methane pollution to skyrocket. Farmers across the Pacific are bearing the brunt of this inaction with more frequent superstorms and heightened food insecurity. 

“The only way for Aotearoa New Zealand to play our part in keeping within the crucial temperature limit of 1.5°C is if the government does more to reduce farming pollution and help farmers transition to sustainable food production,” says Johnston. 

Oxfam Aotearoa’s aim is to push the government to set a bold international target to cut New Zealand’s pollution by 2/3rds by 2030; bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme so everyone pays the full price for their pollution; and use the revenue to help farmers shift to regenerative, sustainable agriculture. Johnston says that bold targets are necessary:  

“By finally requiring intensive farming to pay the full price for its pollution just like everyone else, the government would spur investment in lower-impact ways of growing food, and reward farmers that have been doing this for generations with less fertilisers and fewer cows. 

“Revenue generated from big polluters could then fund the advisory services, certification and manufacturing facilities needed to allow any farmer in Aotearoa to transition to diversified and climate-friendly crops and livestock farming. 

“This is an opportunity to adjust our most polluting industry into one that is sustainable, healthy, and positioned for success in the future. And it’s a chance to ensure that farmers on the frontlines of climate breakdown can survive and thrive too.” 


Notes to editors  

  • The Climate Change Commission advice would plan to reduce New Zealand’s domestic emissions, reducing net carbon dioxide emissions to 55% below 2010 levels by 2030, and net agricultural methane, 8% below 2010 levels by 2030.  The reductions proposed in agricultural methane are not within the IPCC pathways for staying within 1.5 degrees warming. 
  • The government is also reviewing New Zealand’s Paris Agreement target for emissions reductions by 2030, our ‘Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)’, which the Commission found to currently be inconsistent with global efforts to stay within 1.5C of global heating. New Zealand is one of the countries yet to increase its NDC target ahead of COP26, the global climate talks in Glasgow in November. This target is planned to be met through a combination of domestic emissions reductions and the purchase of offshore carbon credits.
  • The combined climate plans submitted by countries account to a dismal 1% emissions reduction, which is way off track from the targeted 45% reduction needed to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees, and to avoid disastrous impacts on vulnerable communities.