Greenpeace welcomes Fed Farmers leader’s call for action on climate change

Press release - May 22, 2008
Greenpeace says it’s encouraged to see Federated Farmers President Charlie Pederson finally going in to bat for strong climate policy in New Zealand.

Mr Pederson is quoted in this morning's Dominion Post as calling for an emissions trading scheme (ETS) so tough it would make finding a solution to New Zealand's greenhouse gas problem the country's number one priority. He envisages a situation in which all minds, resources and funding are focused on this problem to alleviate the hurt it's causing.

"This is exactly the kind of leadership needed within the farming sector," said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer. "The challenge for the new President of Fed Farmers (when Pederson is replaced in November) is to ensure that action on climate change is a priority - after all the organisation's role is to look after farmers and ensure a bright future for them.

"It's in the interests of farmers to deal with climate change; they're getting clobbered by it with floods and droughts, the sector's emissions are rising and they're at risk of losing their clean green branding. This needs to be turned around, but it's going to require progressive leadership.

"We're at a crossroads with climate change in this country. Big sectors like farming should see that acting on climate change as a great opportunity. As Pederson says, the ETS should be seen as chance for New Zealand farmers to start reaping the benefits and leading the world in low-emission, sustainable farming."

In the article, Pederson says every country has a major greenhouse gas emitter similar to New Zealand's agricultural sector and is tackling it. "It's for this very reason that Greenpeace is calling for agriculture to be brought into the scheme earlier than 2013. The sector makes up almost half our greenhouse gas emissions, there ARE win-win solutions to these emissions, and where they don't currently exist they must be found. As Mr Pederson says, a strong ETS offers the incentive to find these solutions."

Agriculture's emissions have increased by 15 per cent since 1990. With the current expansion of intensive dairy and with some 455,000 hectares of forestry land at risk of being deforested and converted into pastoral use (1), these emissions are set to increase substantially.  

Mr Boxer said Greenpeace was not anti-farming. "We've been working hard with farmers to find solutions. We believe a progressive attitude and the kind of "can-do" attitude we've come to associate with New Zealand farmers could make us a world leader in tackling climate change and bring long-lasting benefits to our economic wellbeing."

Other contacts: Simon Boxer – Climate Campaigner – 021905579 Kathy Cumming – Communications – 021 495 216

Notes: High-resolution images and video of aerial footage showing Landcorp’s forestry conversion to intensive dairy farming at Tahorakuri Forest Estate, northeast of Taupo are available at: Briefing: ‘New Zealand’s ‘Clean Green Image’ under threat’ available at: (1) MAF, Area of forest ‘at risk’ from deforestation, August 2006,

Exp. contact date: 2008-12-08 00:00:00