The Biological Emissions Reference Group

Find about the group, its aims, and published reports.

REPORT RELEASED – 6 DECEMBER 2018

Report of the Biological Emissions Reference Group (BERG)

The report provides a summary of the opportunities to reduce biological greenhouse gas emissions from New Zealand agriculture and the costs and benefits of these opportunities and any barriers to their use. The research covers these themes:

  • Climate change, and farmer decision making.
  • Potential for mitigating emissions.
  • Estimating biological emissions from agriculture.
  • Possible implications of changing land use.
  • The costs and barriers of potential policy options.

Find out more

Finding ways to reduce emissions

The Biological Emissions Reference Group (BERG) was established in June 2016. Group members included representatives from agricultural sector organisations and government agencies.

The aim was to build a portfolio of evidence covering:

  • opportunities to reduce biological greenhouse gas emissions (methane and nitrous oxide) from New Zealand agriculture
  • the costs and benefits of these opportunities and any barriers to their use.

Objectives of the group

The BERG’s objectives were to:

  • increase industry, government, and public understanding of the current and future sources and drivers of biological emissions, and the potential to reduce their impact
  • build an agreed and robust understanding of what can be done to reduce biological emissions, and the costs and opportunities involved
  • build trust and confidence between New Zealand’s primary industries and government agencies.

What was not in scope?

The BERG did not have the mandate to develop policy or to make recommendations about policy. However, as part of building a portfolio of evidence, the group commissioned analysis to estimate the costs and barriers of hypothetical policy options.

The BERG did not commission any analysis that considered different ways of accounting for methane as a short-lived greenhouse gas. 

Group membership and terms of reference

The members of the BERG were:

  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Ministry for the Environment
  • Beef + Lamb New Zealand
  • Dairy NZ Limited
  • Deer Industry New Zealand
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand
  • The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand
  • Fonterra Cooperative Group Limited
  • Horticulture New Zealand

Download the group's terms of reference [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Background research reports grouped by theme

Climate change, and farmer decision making

Potential for mitigating emissions

Estimating biological emissions from agriculture

Possible implications of changing land use

The costs and barriers of potential policy options

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