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Climate summit talks: Rice paddy fields and food waste contribute almost as much to global methane emissions as grazing cattle

Newsroom’s climate analyst Rod Oram says New Zealand farmers shouldn’t feel they are being picked on despite the big focus on methane emissions at COP 26.

Speaking from Glasgow to Newsroom Pro editor Jonathan Milne on Pro Talks, Oram said agriculture had been in the frame for being New Zealand’s biggest human-induced source of methane. But delegates at the international summit recognised “fixes” for the problem weren’t going to be anywhere near as quick as they were for oil and gas.

Agriculture makes up 42 percent of global methane emissions and the oil and gas industry about 36 percent. Oram says fixing leaking gas pipelines was being rapidly addressed by new satellite technology, but reducing emissions from animals was a longer term issue and a lot more R&D money needed to be thrown at the problem.  

He says agricultural methane emissions are a global problem: “A prodigious generator of methane is rice paddy fields and our farmers should not feel picked on because they have ruminant animals.”

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This is a special edition of Newsroom Pro Talks made possible by COP26 coverage partner Circularity and Pro Talks sponsor Spark.

Pro Talks is a live webinar series which looks at the crunchy part of big picture issues with the people whose decisions have a wider impact than just their own companies or enterprises. Hosted via zoom, subscribers can watch our journalists interview industry leaders live – and add their questions to the discussion. 

To get access to future Pro Talks subscribe to Newsroom Pro. Sign up before November 12 and you can save up to $91 on an annual Newsroom Pro subscription with all profits going towards funding Newsroom’s climate reporting initiatives. Sign up here.

Newsroom Pro managing editor Jonathan Milne covers business, politics and the economy.

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