As part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), New Zealand has made a commitment to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 – to 5% below 1990 levels. The New Zealand Government recently announced a further target: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
While New Zealand makes only a small contribution to global emissions, the country’s reputation as a trading nation implies an obligation to contribute fairly towards the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risks from climate change.
Agriculture is a major contributor to New Zealand’s economy, representing more than half of the country’s exports. It is also responsible for 47% of the nation’s greenhouse emissions.
The PGgRc is a commitment by the pastoral sector to address these emissions, while ensuring New Zealand’s economic wealth is not compromised. Ultimately, it aims to deliver knowledge and economically viable mitigation practices or products that will help New Zealand farmers manage greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing productivity. At an operational level, PGgRc works towards achieving that by focusing on the creation and development of intellectual property relating to greenhouse gas reducing technologies and practices.
PGgRc’s objectives are to:
- Undertake a greenhouse gas emissions mitigation research programme
- Deliver the research results to New Zealand and, where appropriate, globally
- Maximise research opportunities and benefits for New Zealand farmers and –where compatible with this priority – commercialise for financial gain
- Share financial rewards with stakeholders, primarily New Zealand farmers
PGgRc structure, partners and funding
The PGgRc was established in 2003 and invests about $5 million annually in greenhouse gas research. It is an unincorporated joint venture involving:
- AgResearch Limited
- Beef + Lamb New Zealand
- Fertiliser Assocaition
- Landcorp Farming
- PGG Wrightson
The industry funding is matched dollar for dollar by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Given a shared goal of reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, the PGgRc works closely with the New Zealand Government and its New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) to ensure optimal investment of research funds.
Memorandum of Understanding with Crown
The MOU sets out the agreement between the Crown and partners of PGgRC regarding the funding and coordination of research into agricultural GHG in New Zealand.