12 May 2015

Feds welcome climate change consultation

2:51 pm on 12 May 2015

Federated Farmers has welcomed the opening of public consultation on reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

But it said farmers do not need to worry about the causes of climate change, only coping with its impacts.

Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said the public consultation would help the Government set an emissions reduction target at a global meeting in Paris this year - one that he said would be environmentally credible but also considered the economic costs of acting.

Federated Farmers climate change spokesperson Anders Crofoot said it was critical that everyone understood the trade-offs involved in determining any emissions reduction.

"Hopefully by actually having more public discussion about it and input we will come up with something that most of New Zealand can actually get in behind and it'll make a difference.

"If the Government just tells you to do something you don't necessarily get a very good response but if you have buy in from the public and everybody agrees on the direction they head, they'll be much more likely to achieve useful outcomes."

The federation's president William Rolleston said the lobby group had no position on whether mankind was influencing global warming.

Mr Crofoot said the federation believed looking at the cause of climate change was not that helpful for farmers.

"I think probably some of the arguments in the past have much more been discussions about why it may be changing and sort of trying to attribute cause or blame.

"But I think William's saying we [farmers] need to basically adjust to the realities that are being dealt to us, and why it may or may not be happening isn't really as important, as actually being prepared for what we actually do get dealt," he said.

"First it was called global warming, and then when various scientific records didn't quite back that up, it got changed to climate change, and I don't think you'll have anybody arguing that the climate does change."

The Green Party meanwhile said it was disappointing the country's farming lobby group was denying the scientific evidence behind climate change.

Party co-leader, Russel Norman, made the comment in response to Federated Farmers saying farmers need to worry about coping with climate change, not the causes.

Mr Norman said Mr Crofoot's comments were "a basic science denialist position".

"So, in fact the earth has warmed since pre-industrial times by an average 0.85 degrees as a result of the release of greenhouse emissions by human activities.

"And that's just the basic science, so it's pretty disaapointing that the Feds don't even accept the basic science around climate change.

"The reason why the term climate change is used is because the impact of global warming, if you like, is both going to be an increase in weather events like droughts, but also increases in events like flooding and storm events."

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