Drought care of climate change - Carter

Press release - April 21, 2009
Greenpeace is welcoming Agriculture Minister David Carter’s recognition that the drought affecting East Coast farmers is climate change-related (1).

"As farmers have conceded, farms in Gisborne and Wairoa may eventually have to be abandoned. This is a real possibility if countries fail to agree to a strong climate change deal in Copenhagen in December," said Greenpeace political advisor Geoff Keey. "The New Zealand Government will have to dramatically lift its game at these international negotiations if it wants to do its bit and give farmers a chance of seeing their grandchildren farm their properties."

Keey recently returned from the first round of the climate talks in Bonn. "There was no sense of urgency from the New Zealand Government delegation; no sense at all that New Zealand is worried its own farmers might be driven off the land by climate change."

At the negotiations, New Zealand (along with Russia and the Ukraine) refused to propose a target for reducing greenhouse pollution, despite agreeing to earlier on in the process.

"New Zealand needs to agree to binding emission reduction targets of 40% by 2020, as part of an effective climate change deal.  Even China is now starting to talk about adopting a target," said Keey.

"Meanwhile Federated Farmers needs to stop defending a $1.3B subsidy to agriculture under the emissions trading scheme and start backing up calls for a 40% emission reduction in, unless it's their plan to sacrifice East Coast farmers in order to protect an unsustainable expansion in industrial dairying."

Other contacts: Contact: Geoff Keey – Greenpeace Political Adviser – 021504 486 Kathy Cumming – Media and communications – 021 495 216

Notes: (1) Agriculture Minister David Carter – Morning Report – 21 April - “most of the farmers up here…recognise the climates are changing. I think that’s symptomatic of climate change so it does mean that more frequently farmers are going to be placed under pressure from drought.”

Exp. contact date: 2010-10-17 00:00:00