Denmark has legislated a deal ensuring that farmers, whose dairy and pork products are sold globally, will reduce their emissions by 55-65% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. The government has set aside 3.8 billion kroner ($600 million) to compensate farmers during the transition. 

The agreement is expected to reduce emissions by 7.4 million tons CO2 by 2030, and includes converting some farmland to wildlife areas.

A bit more populous than NZ, Denmark has about 5.7 million inhabitants, but its food production is high enough to feed 15 million people, meaning most of its food products – think Danish ham, 13 million pigs in 2020 – are exported.

The Danish legislated plan to cut farm emissions by 55-65% by 2030 compares to the ‘bold recommendation’ from NZ’s Climate Commission which sets an overall biogenic methane reduction target of 12% by 2030 – which Dairy NZ called “incredibly challenging” and a “big ask” for farmers. Even by 2050 the Commission’s target range for biogenic methane is set between 24% and 47%.

And whereas New Zealand current international commitment (made in 2006, and now ‘on hold’ until next year) is to cut total emissions to 30% of 2005 levels by 2030, the Danish commitment is to cut its total emissions by 70% by 2030.

Meantime, NZ’s farmers are rumbling (and grumbling) into ‘action’, working against this modest milestone – under He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Action Partnership (a cross-sector collaboration with the Government), by the end of 2022, 100% of farmers need to know their annual total on-farm emissions, and then have a written plan to manage emissions by 2024. By 2025 there might finally be a firm emissions target.

Denmark suggests we could pick up the pace.

Where there’s a will there’s a way!

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