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Absolving the Sins of Emission

Absolving the Sins of Emission: Emerging governance of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand

Principal investigator: Dr Chris Rosin

Staff involved: Chris Rosin, Mark Cooper

Brief abstract

Project was designed to gain initial insight to emerging governance structures and their negotiation in regard to greenhouse gas mitigation in the agriculture sector in New Zealand. It was funded to conduct interview research with farmers as well as to develop contacts with relevant government and industry policy makers and researchers at other institutions who were examining aspects of climate change science in agriculture.

The research portion of the project examined the farmers’ consideration of the impact of climate change on their approaches to management and farming objectives. The resulting data suggested that farmers’ intentions did not consistently correspond with the trajectories of policy development and science practice.

The farmers generally preferred to engage in governance structures which maintained broader farmer independence and initiative with minimal levels of government mandated practice.  The major barriers to this strategy included the existing commitments within the Kyoto Protocol framework and the lack of mitigation options other than destocking, which was not viewed as a viable alternative.

The findings and contacts developed in the project contributed to subsequent MAF-funded research and formed the basis for ongoing investigation of farmer engagement with climate change by means of a national survey.