Dr Anita Wreford

Push to address climate change—university

by Mike Isle

Lincoln University Associate Professor Anita Wreford believes many of Lincoln’s activities are at the forefront of the push to address climate change.

Dr Wreford recently became the programme lead for the Impacts and Implications Programme in the Deep South National Science Challenge, which aims to support decision-making about climate change adaptation.

It includes developing ways to support sectors, communities, businesses and government to plan for climate change and ensure that industries remain productive, flexible and functioning over time.

“Some of my colleagues at Lincoln are involved in research exploring alternative land uses, through the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with different types of production,” she said.

“There are also opportunities to generate co-benefits through land-based mitigation if measures are designed carefully.

“Biodiversity and soil erosion through increased tree planting are also co-benefits, and Lincoln is carrying out activities in these areas too.”

Where agriculture is concerned, Dr Wreford pointed out that the sector contributes to almost half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, so big changes are necessary.

“If agriculture didn’t play its part in the government’s Climate Change bill, this would increase the burden elsewhere, especially in New Zealand, where other sectors would have to reduce their emissions by twice as much.

“I think farmers are looking at doing things differently in any case, to meet other objectives, including water quality, increasing biodiversity and reducing erosion.

“There will still be room for productivity improvements, which Lincoln’s activities can help with,” Dr Wreford said. Last week The Record reported that Environment Canterbury had declared a climate emergency.