17 Dec 2009

NZ launches global research alliance at Copenhagen

5:57 am on 17 December 2009

New Zealand has launched a Global Research Alliance on agricultural green house gases, at the Copenhagen climate conference.

And the Government has announced it will contribute $NZ45 million over four years towards international research eforts to reduce emissions from agriculture.

Ministers from about 19 countries joined New Zealand representatives In Copenhagen on Wednesday to establish the alliance. They include the United States and Canada, India, Japan, Australia and eight European countries.

The alliance was proposed by Prime Minister John Key at the UN General Assembly in September. It aims to find practical ways of reducing green house gases from livestock, cropping and rice production.

NZ International Negotiations Minister Tim Groser, who's in Copenhagen, says 14% of the world's emissions come from agriculture, but the figure for New Zealand and parts of the developing world, is much higher.

He says there is an urgent need to develop technologies and practices to reduce those emissions and increase carbon sequestration, while enhancing food security.

Foundation members of the alliance will meet in New Zealand early next year to establish working groups and set priorities.