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New Policy Briefs: New Zealand Farmers' Climate Change Attitudes

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By Meredith Niles - Posted on 10 March 2013

Today the Center is releasing two new policy briefs outlining the first key details in the New Zealand Climate Change and Agriculture project. The study involved a series of interviews with farmers, agricultural industry professionals and local policymakers as well as a survey of farmers in the Hawkes Bay and Marlborough regions of New Zealand between July-October 2012.

Initial results suggest some clear similarities between New Zealand farmers and California farmers (as reported earlier). For example, in Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, New Zealand 51% and 53% of farmers respectively believe the global climate is changing. In California, 54% of farmers agreed with this statement. As well, there are similar patterns for the role of humans in climate change- 37% in Hawkes Bay and 45% in Marlborough agree that humans have a role in climate change; in California this number was 35%.

Differences are however evident when considering farmer's climate change risk and opportunity perceptions. Overall in New Zealand farmers are much more concerned about the risks of climate change for agriculture globally- 67% in Hawkes Bay and 71% in Marlborough. By comparison, only 53% of California farmers felt this way. For climate change opportunities there are similar observations- 57% of Hawkes Bay and 61% of Marlborough farmers agree there are climate change opportunities compared with only 45% in California.

Additional similarities are also observed when considering farmers concerns for future climate-related risks. We see the same pattern in New Zealand farmers observed in California farmers: regulatory, economic and pest issues are the most concerning followed by water, then temperature risks. Overall, it is the socioeconomic risks associated with climate change that farmers care most about, not the biophysical components.

Finally, we do observe some within region differences in New Zealand related to observed climate changes over time. Farmers in Marlborough believe that annual rainfall and flooding have increased the most while summer temperature and drought have decreased the most. For Hawkes Bay farmers winter temperature and flooding have increased the most while wind and summer temperatures have decreased the most. Overall, a larger percentage of farmers in Marlborough have experienced changes in climate change farmers in Hawkes Bay. Future research will compare farmer's perceived changes with actual downscaled climate data.

Additional briefs are forthcoming related to the types of practices farmers in these New Zealand regions will consider for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Check out the briefs to see additional details on the survey and graphs and visuals related to the data.

AttachmentSize
Hawkes Bay_Climate_Attitudes_Policy_Brief_FINAL.pdf578.96 KB
Marlborough_Climate_Attitudes_Policy_FINAL.pdf569.68 KB