Methane and nitrous oxide produced by farmed ruminants may cause over one third of the potential greenhouse warming which can be attributed to New Zealand. This is a result of high populations of domestic ruminants (mainly sheep and cattle), and the large warming potential of methane and nitrous oxide. New Zealand's total greenhouse gas production is an insignificant component of the global total, but this fact cannot be used as a reason to ignore New Zealand's contribution. International negotiations have commenced with the aim of producing a treaty to limit global greenhouse gas production by ruminants in New Zealand, and identifies areas needing further research. It concludes that; (1) the accuracy of estimate of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture needs to be improved; (2) technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ruminants should be developed for, and applied to, New Zealand farming systems; and (3) that equitable methods of implementing limitation policies need to be investigated.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 50, , 483-485, 1990
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