21 Jul 2011

Minister confident of agricultural research alliance success

1:58 pm on 21 July 2011

Trade and Climate Change Negotiations Minister Tim Groser is confident the Global Research Alliance initiated by New Zealand will find cost-effective ways of reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

He told the Agricultural and Horticultural Outlook conference in Wellington on Thursday that in his view the initiative is 70 times more important than New Zealand's emission trading scheme in terms of its potential impact.

More than 30 countries representing the world's main agricultural producers are now part of the alliance. New Zealand is co-leading a research group looking at livestock emissions.

Mr Groser says scientists believe the answer to reducing livestock emissions is most likely to be found in the microbiology of the rumen.

However they are also doing a wide range of other research including manure management, soil carbon modelling and the impact of water management on emissions.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party's agricultural spokesperson, Damien O'Cionnor, told the conference he thinks it's too late now to ditch the emissions trading scheme and opt for a carbon tax instead.

Mr O'Connor says he personally thinks a carbon tax would have been the best option, but a campaign by farmers scuppered that.