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Ministers from 20 countries have joined a Global Research Alliance on agriculture greenhouse gases that New Zealand has pledged $45 million towards over four years.
Prime Minister John Key proposed the alliance at the UN General Assembly in September and New Zealand ministers have “heavily” promoted it as an initiative to bring developed and developing countries together on the issue.
Associate Climate Change Minister Tim Groser and Agriculture Minister David Carter announced the alliance, formed in Copenhagen overnight.
Mr Groser said New Zealand had pulled together a diverse range of countries, from the US to India, to find practical solutions to reduce greenhouse gases from livestock, cropping and rice production.
“This Alliance will be a credible force for ensuring the resources, research capability and international goodwill to reduce farm emissions while ensuring food production meets the demands of a growing world population.”
He said 14% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions were from agriculture, but for New Zealand and parts of the developing world, the figure was much higher.
“There is an urgent need to develop technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration in agriculture while enhancing food security.”
Agriculture Minister David Carter said the alliance was one of a suite of measures by the government, including the AgResearch Centre for Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Research and the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Global Research Alliance members will meet early in 2010 in New Zealand to establish working groups, and discuss priority setting and opportunities for encouraging participation.
The founding members countries are Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam.