Saturday, April 20, 2024

New funding for greenhouse emissions research

Research into cutting agricultural greenhouse gas emissions will receive $9 million in financial backing as part of Budget 22’s investment in the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

“The sight of so many North Island communities working to recover from three major storms this year leaves us in no doubt of the need to take action on climate change,” said Mr O’Connor.

“This investment is part of the Government’s significant effort to shift the dial and contribute to a global response to climate change, and to maintain a clear competitive edge internationally.

“Demand for tools and practices that reduce agricultural greenhouse gases is growing both in New Zealand and internationally. Research on our unique pasture-based farming systems is the gateway to meeting that demand.

“We have to attract the best minds if we are to succeed. Success will be two-fold: it will see us meet our emissions targets as a sector, and open up significant export revenue for our IP,” he said.

Today’s announcement includes more than $9 million to support up to 15 PhD students and 12 post-doctoral students over six years, and the development of a national agricultural greenhouse gas capability plan to ensure we can meet the increased demand for researchers.

The Government is also investing up to $350,000 to build on the current research programme into methane vaccines, which trigger antibodies that suppress methane in animals.

“This funding will be used to test two alternative protein production systems and if successful, could help realise a vaccine as a real option for farmers,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We are also investing $200,000 into further research on the effect plantain has on nitrous oxide emissions.

“This will help us better understand the benefits of plantain and how it can be used on farm to reduce emissions.”

The latest investments will build on the $27 million announced last year as part of the launch of the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions at Fieldays.

The Centre focuses on reducing agriculture emissions through research and development. It is made up of the new Centre for Climate Action Joint Venture with industry and an enhanced New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre.

“Customers abroad have increasing expectations on climate and sustainability. We’ve invested $339 million through the Centre to help our farmers reduce emissions. In getting this right, we can become the best farmers for the world,” Minister O’Connor said.

For more information on the PhD and Fellowship programme go to ccaae.govt.nz.

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