Our Climate Change Response

What opportunities and challenges do catchment groups face in managing greenhouse gases?

Kia ora koutou

Over the last few months we have been looking at collective approaches, challenges & opportunities in managing GHG emissions. 
We talked to catchment groups, and people working alongside them. Thanks everyone for your involvement in this project for NZ Landcare Trust. 
Here’s a summary of what we heard: 

  • Opportunities & challenges are as diverse as catchment groups themselves. 
  • Groups see the advantage in sharing knowledge, GHG reporting & collectively telling a unique story. 
  • Politics & uncertainty are holding collective action back. Some groups feel disengaged from conversations happening in Wellington, and there is fear of what climate change regulations will do to farming. 
  • Land use optimisation at landscape scale presents a massive opportunity for catchment groups. Though the social, legal & practical complexities of acting collectively to find the best land uses for the catchment are huge. 
  • There is massive potential in collective approaches to Carbon sequestration, including carbon trading. Groups are recognising the potential multiple benefits for biodiversity, cultural values and water quality. 
  • While groups can see the benefits of collective action, current efforts are mostly limited to promoting the ‘know your number’ message and responding to climate change adaptation challenges. 
  • Climate change adaptation provides an opportunity to normalise the discussion that climate change is happening, and a response is needed.

Some conclusions, 

  • The government’s recent proposal on enabling collective approaches is a start, but there is a significant way to go to make this a reality. 
  • It is critical that government agencies work with catchment collectives to understand and design collective mechanisms for managing GHGs. 
  • Catchment collectives have the potential to be involved in testing GHG mitigations at landscape scale and testing policy solutions in collaboration with central government agencies, councils, sector groups. Willingness to participate in these opportunities may also open doors for funding opportunities. 
  • Despite being highly political and uncertain, normalising the conversation on climate change response is needed to provide groups with more time to change behaviour. These early conversations could focus on understanding current emissions profiles, adaptation and known obligations. 
  • Another good starting point is building understanding of connection points across farming businesses within a catchment. This will lay the foundation for building connection & trust & leverage relationships to help explore options for building climate change resilience at catchment scale.  
  • New resources, tools & support are needed to understand & facilitate landscape-scale approaches to integrating biodiversity, GHGs, freshwater, economic & social considerations.