Climatic condition has now become an important agenda of discussion in the international and national platform, concerns for agriculture health. The change in climate has proven with enough and sufficient incidence and recorded data that agriculture life sustainability needs to be given high value additional attention.
When people think about climate change they tend only to consider carbon dioxide. Kyoto was actually much broader than that. That’s why here in New Zealand over time the mantra has become "all gases, all sectors".
Carbon dioxide comes mostly from the burning of fossil fuels so we can see a logical way of getting those emissions to zero. The climate scientists say this is critical as we release a great deal of it and once it is released into the atmosphere it is there for a very long time.
For carbon dioxide, we are consumers and just like the rest of the world we should be working on reducing fossil fuel emissions. If NZ doesn’t produce a kilo of meat or milk, then it will be produced somewhere else in the world and most likely more emissions will be produced.
So from a global perspective it makes sense for NZ to be producing food rather than shifting production elsewhere.
Now not only are NZ farmers efficient food producers, they have also been steadily becoming more efficient, at over 1 per cent a year.That means over the past two decades NZ has reduced its emissions per unit produced by 20-30 per cent. We should keep doing research to keep that trend going and maybe even improve it.
We can also keep exploring new opportunities. We have land, water and a skilled workforce. We are skilled at producing animal proteins.
With global demand for protein increasing, we should be exploring other protein opportunities — insects, fungi or synthetic meat?
As farmers we can keep improving our efficiency and taking advantage of new technology. All of us can reduce fossil fuel consumption by insulating our homes, using solar energy and driving carefully.
Over the long run most of the actions will save us money, although our individual actions aren’t going to save the world, we can do our bit.