Government and farmers agree to primary sector emissions plan

The Government and farming leaders have agreed on a partnership that my be a workable solution to farm emission issues. It gives farmers  few years to come up with solutions themselves, ot else the Government will step in and act.

Beehive:  World-first plan for farmers to reduce emissions

The Government and farming sector leaders have agreed to a world-first partnership to reduce primary sector emissions in one of the most significant developments on climate action in New Zealand’s history.

Today farming leaders and the Government announced a plan to join forces to develop practical and cost-effective ways to measure and price emissions at the farm level by 2025, so that 100 per cent of New Zealand’s emissions will be on the path downwards.

The 5-year joint action plan includes:

  • Improved tools for estimating and benchmarking emissions on farms
  • Integrated farm plans that include a climate module
  • Investment in research, development and commercialisation
  • Increased farm advisory capacity and capability
  • Incentives for early adopters
  • Recognition of on-farm mitigation such as small plantings, riparian areas and natural cover

The Government recognises partnering with Māori will be critical to the success of this joint action plan.

In addition, Cabinet has also agreed that in 2022 the independent Climate Change Commission will check in on the progress made and if commitments aren’t being met, the Government can bring the sector into the ETS at processor level before 2025.

“I’m proud that we have a world-first agreement as part of our plan to tackle the long-term challenge of climate change and we’ve done that by reaching an historic consensus with our primary sector,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“For too long politicians have passed the buck and caused uncertainty for everyone while the need for climate action was clear.

“This plan provides the primary sector with certainty and puts us shoulder-to-shoulder on a path to reduce emissions, with ongoing support to help with the plan such as the $229 million Sustainable Land Use investment.

“This will reduce emissions by giving farmers the autonomy to plan to do so and reward those who do,” she said.

“Our decision to put in place a sector-led plan to reduce emissions at the farm gate shows we’ve listened to farmers,” Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said.

Major reforms to the ETS have also been announced to make it fit for purpose, with a cap on industrial energy and transport emissions, and forester incentives simplified.

“This will help keep our planet safe for future generations. With the world changing at break-neck speed, these changes will drive us towards a low emissions country,” Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said.

“Changes also align the purpose of the ETS with the Zero Carbon Act and the Paris Agreement, so that New Zealand doing its bit to limit global warming to 1.5C,” he said.

“Farmers understand that a changing climate affects them and many are already making changes on-farm to meet that challenge and to enhance our reputation for safe and sustainable food production while maintaining our competitiveness in international markets,” Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said.

“The agreement with sector leaders shows the value of collaboration and provides certainty for farmers, but the hard work begins now to develop the tools and systems to account for on-farm emissions in 2025.

“The Government will back that with investment in research, extension services and advice for farmers,” Damien O’Connor said.

Today’s agreement delivers on commitments in the Coalition and Confidence and Supply Agreements and is the latest step in the Government’s plan that has seen it take more action on climate change in the past two years than the previous 30 years.

Government’s actions to date on climate change

  • The Zero Carbon Bill to get us to zero net emissions by 2050
  • Making clean and electric cars more available
  • Planting 1 billion trees
  • Stopped the permitting of new offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Setting up a $100 million green investment fund
  • Making renewable energy like windfarms and solar easier to build

There has been some criticism that this lets farmers off the hook, and some of that criticism has been directed at Climate Change Minister and Green leader James haw.

NZ Herald: PM Jacinda Ardern dismisses claims Government has backed down on its ETS promises

The Government moved quickly today to dismiss criticisms that its plans to make New Zealand’s rural sector greener was a backdown from a key election promise.

Backdown? or a pragmatic solution to a difficult problem?

Instead, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and a host of farming and agricultural sector leaders today talked up the importance of the new scheme and the “world-first” Government-industry partnership.

“We could have forced the sector into a pricing regime that it was completely allergic to,” Shaw told media this morning.

“But, ultimately that would have been unsustainable.”

Fonterra’s chief executive Miles Hurrell said the announcement was a “significant step forward” and was a much better option than “imposing a broad-based tax”.

Ardern and Shaw talked up the importance of the plan and why the Government needed to work with the agricultural sector, and not against it.

Not long after the plan was announced, the Government came under fire from Greenpeace who labelled it a “major sell-out”.

“An emissions trading scheme without the [agriculture] sector in it is a joke and won’t be able to combat the climate emergency – the greatest threat humanity has ever faced,” the organisation said.

Ex-Green leader Russel Norman now leads Greenpeace in New Zealand. Norman has never had the experience of working in Government, he has only had to promote minor party policies, many of them idealistic and without popular support.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog:  I hear the Greens are unhappy with James

I’m hearing there is a significant group within the  who are very unhappy with agriculture being exempted from the ETS until 2025, and possibly forever.

They’re also unhappy the Greens are supporting the anti-terrorist legislation, and the foreign land sales Green Ministers have okayed.

Green activists probably wouldn’t be happy unless they had full control of Government policies, but they are a long way off having the level of support needed for that.

Leave a comment

24 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  25th October 2019

    Only a potential green MP (or loon) would think by first threatening a tax and then putting it off for a couple of years (or not) is a massive subsidy.
    Jack McDonald @tautokai tweets
    “Coopting the language of the international indigenous rights movement to justify massive subsidies to a colonial agriculture industry.”
    I might also point out complaint that the language of the “international indigenous rights movement” was actually borrowed from the Latin.
    “Nothing About Us Without Us!” (Latin: “Nihil de nobis, sine nobis”)

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  25th October 2019

      Its already a subsidy. The taxpayer pays 100% of the agricultural sector emissions now under the succession of Treatys …Kyoto, Rio, Paris.
      What is changing , is individual farmers based on their type – dairying more than sheep etc- now will have to pay a small share while the taxpayers pick the rest as usual.
      The current government tab for paying for carbon emissions for farming and a few other industries is close to $800m per year and growing. This has been the case inherited from national for many years
      https://treasury.govt.nz/publications/estimates/vote-environment-environment-sector-estimates-2019-2020-html

      a total of just over $551 million for the allocation of New Zealand emission units to the economy
      a total of just over $189 million for the loss on sale of New Zealand emission units, and
      a total of just over $54 million for administering the Emissions Trading Scheme including the impairment of debt.

      Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  25th October 2019

        It’s a stupid tax based on poor science not being paid.

        Anyhow if it was a proper ETS the carbon cost of the food production should follow it as an export.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  25th October 2019

          Thats why the taxpayer covers the cost not the farmer as under the ETS rules they are exempt but under the International ‘accords’ someone has to pay for it.
          I think the farmers were supposed to come into the ETS 5 years or something after it was passed in 2008 but National removed that completely when they came into office , happy to let taxpayers pay.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Emissions_Trading_Scheme
          “The NZ ETS covers forestry (a net sink),
          energy (42% of total 2012 emissions),
          industry (7% of total 2012 emissions)
          and waste (5% of total 2012 emissions)
          but not pastoral agriculture (46% of 2012 total emissions).

          Forestry, which contributed net removals of 17.5 Mts of CO2e in 2010 (19% of NZ’s 2008 emissions,[7]) entered the NZ ETS on 1 January 2008.[8]
          The stationary energy, industrial processes and liquid fossil fuel sectors entered the NZ ETS on 1 July 2010.
          The waste sector (landfill operators) entered on 1 January 2013.[9]
          From November 2009, methane and nitrous oxide emissions from pastoral agriculture were scheduled to be included in the NZ ETS from 1 January 2015.”

          National Party prefers the total taxpayer subsidy approach .
          By comparison the ETS costs on petrol prices are likely not more than 5c per litre.
          But farming hates the idea of any payments they cant wriggle out of.

          Reply
          • alloytoo

             /  25th October 2019

            No, it shouldn’t be us the taxpayer it should be the foreign consumer.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  25th October 2019

              How much would that add to product prices though? Could cost us some market share?

            • alloytoo

               /  25th October 2019

              Yes Gezza, we will sacrifice market share in favour of less efficient producers….that’s the economic stupidy of this nonsense

  2. Corky

     /  25th October 2019

    Good this government has just enough cubes under the bonnet to realise what would happen if they throttled our golden goose. Hopefully a National Reich will begin at the next election, and this nonsense will be consigned to the exhibition room of what is becoming our worst government in living memory. That said, farmers must continue to refine their industry.
    The old ways are gone…and I think most farm producers understand that. It’s a pity this government didn’t give the agriculture sector kudos for changes already taking place.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th October 2019

      To be fair, I’m pretty sure they have – even the more responsible & responsible elements in the Greens have had to admit the sector’s been upping its game ecologically speaking.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  25th October 2019

        *reasonable & responsible …

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  25th October 2019

        We currently send over a billion dollars a year in payments as our contribution to the climate change scam. The Greens should get behind a push to use this money for our own benefit and research. I believe the Young Conservatives have suggested that so I won’t be holding my breath.

        Reply
        • alloytoo

           /  25th October 2019

          We should use that money in NZ, build a couple of nuclear power stations, prepare for the coming ice age.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  25th October 2019

            Which ice age? The one predicted to have occurred by year 2000..or the one predicted to hit in the future? I smell a new scam for when the old one is no longer tenable. I’m sure many more suckers will fall for it.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  25th October 2019

              the Rice Age is here to…stay.

            • Corky

               /  25th October 2019

              Nǐ hǎo. We Chinese have learnt from that book ” Confessions Of A Economic Hitman.” If it wasn’t for Trump we would already rule the world.

            • Gezza

               /  25th October 2019

              Getting a bit carried away there, Corks. Too much sugar? Time to cut back on the raspberry buns?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  25th October 2019

            The ice age is coming/The sun disappears/And London is calling now-ow (I live by the river)

            Reply
  3. duperez

     /  25th October 2019

    From a purely political perspective:

    You know whatever happened by and large must have something going for it, be progress of some sort and have the possibility of being seen as the Government achieving something when David Farrar tries to turn it into a Greens meltdown.

    (That’s all a bit churlish England rugby fan after the All Blacks have beaten them 31-29 bitching about the fact that they’d scored four tries and the sole NZ one was scored by someone who had attacked disabled people by using an airport toilet labelled as being for those with physical impairments.)

    Reply
  4. PartisanZ

     /  25th October 2019

    Election winning policy-spin and PR IMHO … National have had the Matt(s) pulled out from under them. What would National have done?

    Now they have the option of putting forward what is bad or opposing what appears good.

    It’s brilliant political strategy and well done Labour-led for utilizing it rather than play negativity games like the ‘Opposition’. It’ll help win them another term.

    Environmental outcomes have almost nothing to do with it, in case you think I reckon its great policy or going to benefit our mutually-owned biosphere very much.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  25th October 2019

      “National have had the Matt(s) pulled out from under them. What would National have done?”
      Paula and Simon where the Climate Change ministers who signed NZ up to the tougher Paris agreement in 2017.
      They cant oppose this because its in line with ‘what they wanted and signed up to’ and NZ has to buy the Carbon offsets for farmers anyway …this agreement is just deciding what share the taxpayers and the farmers have.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  25th October 2019

        Your right … with a little ‘r’ …

        I distinctly heard Labour (Jacinda I think?) say they were concluding a partnership begun by National … towards the beginning of the full Press Conference I watched …

        Another coup-de-grace by Labour-led. I don’t believe National would have acknowledged Labour in similar circumstances …

        You may not be exposed to the hyper-negativity of Matt King MP up here in the Far North? All the while he’s been trying to propagate a Townies versus Farmers false dichotomy in media releases (called ‘Columns’ in the Northland Age), Labour-led have been quietly concluding the partnership …

        They oppose recreational cannabis legalization now despite having claimed primacy in the eventual passing of Labour’s ‘Claytons’ medicinal cannabis legislation … so I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they don’t oppose this for the sake of Opposition … Really they are daily proving themselves THAT dumb!

        Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  25th October 2019

    Planning to do something in five years when you have no idea how to do it is not a plan, it is just a pretence.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th October 2019

      On the other hand

      1. 5 years is long enough for someone to figure something out
      2. Meantime it won’t cost you all the farmers’ votes (their daughters are all voting for Jacinda anyway because, well she’s a sheila) and could be an election winner?

      Sounds like a plan.

      Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  25th October 2019

      As I said Alan, PR and spin. It is ALL ABOUT pretense …

      Democracy itself is a ‘semblance’. Why would any of its component parts be anything else?

      Reply

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