The agriculture industry is due to report back to the government on its He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) climate proposal on Monday – but Greenpeace is warning the industry might try to keep ‘cooking the books’ and the Government should hold agribusiness accountable for its emissions.
He Waka Eke Noa is a partnership between agricultural industry organisations including Federated Farmers, Beef & Lamb and Dairy NZ. The partnership’s first proposal, released six months ago, was expected to result in a less than 1 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.Greenpeace Aotearoa lead agriculture campaigner Christine Rose, says “We’ll be analysing He Waka Eke Noa’s proposals closely, to ensure they don’t get away with cooking the books to appear more ambitious than they really are. There is no room for dodgy tactics, such as early suggestions by industry of claiming emissions reductions from the upcoming freshwater reforms.
“If the government accepts a cooked He Waka Eke Noa proposal, they will be saying it is ok for high polluting industries to write their own climate policy, invent their own measures of success, and attempt to manipulate the public into thinking responsible change is being made.”
“The government needs to take the climate change impacts of New Zealand’s agricultural sector far more seriously, and must hold industrial dairy accountable. The agri-industry partnership is like a cartel, protecting its own interests at the cost of everyone else, and the planet.
“DairyNZ has admitted that it ‘managed to keep farmers out of the Emissions Trading scheme’ by launching He Waka Eke Noa,”says Rose.
Greenpeace argues that the purpose of He Waka Eke Noa is to obfuscate and delay real action on agricultural emissions, because He Waka Eke Noa also gives a free pass to intensive dairying, while penalising less intense farming operations like beef farmers and Māori owned farms, who will pay more than dairy.
“We all deserve a stable climate, healthy rivers, and safe drinking water. But industrial agriculture, especially intensive dairy, is condemning our rivers, climate and health to contamination, pollution and chaos. Action to reduce agricultural emissions means tackling the dairy industry – New Zealand’s worst climate polluter – and that means far fewer cows, it means cutting synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and it means backing a shift to regenerative farming,” says Rose.