Environment and climate change research

Information about climate change research programmes – their funding and MPI's involvement.

Why we fund research

MPI aims to understand climate change and how it affects farming systems, livestock management, crops, horticulture, and forestry. We're also interested in how primary producers can adapt to a changing climate.

As part of our role as caretakers of the agricultural and forestry sectors, it is important we understand the work we and others are doing to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We also need to know how it's affecting New Zealand's environment.

New Zealand is in a relatively unique position for an OECD country with more than 50% of our greenhouse gas emissions produced by the agricultural sector. We are working to understand how we can improve and mitigate our emissions while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity.

Research to inform policy advice

MPI regularly commissions research, modelling, and analysis to ensure the policy advice we provide to the government is based on evidence.

Estimating and mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas emissions

MPI advised the government on the Climate Change Response Act (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill, which was introduced to Parliament in October 2019. MPI commissioned the following reports to support the advice we provided. 

Modelling of agricultural climate change mitigation policy scenarios

This report analyses the environmental and economic impacts of a range of policy options to address New Zealand’s agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions. It looks at different greenhouse gas and carbon sequestration prices and considers the impact in terms of emissions, carbon sequestration, agricultural production, agricultural profitability, and land use. The report was prepared by Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.

Modelling of agricultural climate change mitigation policy scenarios [PDF, 619 KB]

Assessment of tools for estimating on-farm GHG emissions

MPI contracted AgResearch to review current options for estimating and reporting on-farm agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to support government policy decisions. The report includes a review of expert literature and reports on tools available to estimate GHG emissions. It drew on an expert stakeholder workshop with representatives from Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ, Deer Industry New Zealand, Federated Farmers, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand, Fonterra, Overseer Ltd, AgResearch, and officials from MPI and the Ministry for the Environment.

Assessment of tools for estimating on-farm GHG emissions [PDF, 952 KB]

Four main research programmes

1. Greenhouse gas inventory

We research how to improve our national forestry and agriculture greenhouse gas inventory and reporting.

2. Sustainable land management and climate change

We research the impacts of, and adaptation to, climate change, forestry, and agriculture greenhouse gas mitigation. This includes cross-cutting issues such as social science, adoption, and practice change.

3. Methane, nitrous oxide and soil carbon, and farm systems mitigation in agriculture

This research through the New Zealand Agricultural Gas Research Centre supports capability development and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

4. Agricultural greenhouse gas

We are involved in internationally coordinated research into finding ways to grow more food without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Other areas of focus

We partner with research organisations, other government departments, and the sector to investigate a broad range of environmental and climate change concerns.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about the information on this page, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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