Bioeconomy advocate Scion welcomes NZ climate policy report

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New Zealand government-owned research institute Scion has welcome a new report that proposes to take a ‘landscape approach’ to managing the country’s climate and environmental issues.

Commenting on the release, CEO Julian Elder said: “Scion has been championing the bioeconomy approach for a number of years now. As a country, we need to move from an oil-based to a ‘new’ plant-based economy. This report is a welcome endorsement of an alternative approach to land use and development of zero carbon technology.”

Scion has been developing a range of bioproducts from renewable sources since 2006, including producing biofuels from trees.

Elder added: “Transitioning to a low-emission circular bioeconomy offers a significant opportunity for New Zealand. If we were to embrace this approach, New Zealand could have competitive advantage in a global move towards this new economy.

“Our ‘Right tree, right place, right purpose strategy to 2030’ aims to recast New Zealand’s forest industry to create a more sustainable and uniquely kiwi way of living in a low-carbon biobased future.”

Research carried out by the institute has shown that switching 30% of petroleum-based liquid fuel to cleaner biofuel would result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing half of the cars currently on New Zealand’s roads.

The ‘Farms, forests and fossil fuels: The next great landscape transformation?’ report was published by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Recommendations include allowing access to forest sinks as offsets only for biological emissions, and developing tools to manage biological sources and sinks with a landscape approach that embraces water, soil and biodiversity objectives.