The Government’s about to be announced emission reduction plan must recognise the scientific reality that carbon emissions sourced from livestock are quite different to the carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuel.
Carbon emissions from livestock are not the same as carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel because the major contributor to these livestock emissions is methane.
Methane is a short-lived gas that is at net zero when emissions are stable. The Climate Commission acknowledges this, stating that stable emissions of methane, (which we have in New Zealand now), mean a stable atmosphere.
The goal of climate policy is to achieve a stable atmosphere by getting New Zealand emissions to net zero. For that to happen CO2 emissions need to reduce by 100% or be fully offset whereas methane emissions just need to remain stable.
The emission reduction plan must focus on reducing carbon emissions from CO2 which needs to reduce by 100% to be at net zero, and not carbon emissions from methane which are already at net zero.
The Government must recognize that not all carbon emissions are the same and not waste resource reducing carbon emissions which do not need to reduce because they are already at net zero and focus its energy on reducing the carbon emissions that do need to reduce.