Support the Guardian

Available for everyone, funded by readers

Removal from ETS welcomed

Removal from ETS welcomed

Industry groups have cautiously welcomed the government's plan to remove agriculture from the Emissions Trading Scheme and disband the He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership in favour of a new Pastoral Sector Group to tackle biogenic methane.

Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers president David Acland has said the move is positive for New Zealand's primary industry, although the sector will still face challenges and need to meet global treaty obligations.

"We are out of the ETS, but that doesn't mean we don't still have that challenge of reducing agricultural emissions."

Acland said companies like Nestle are still signalling that they want to understand the emissions profile of our food and where it sits within their profile, but that New Zealand is well on track to meet 2030 emissions targets.

"The emissions profile of New Zealand sheep, beef and dairy is very good in a global context."

Acland said it was imperative that the Pastoral Sector Group don't follow in the flawed footsteps of He Weka Eka Noa.

"We don't want to repeat what we had with the last pastoral collaboration when one party went into it with a big stick.

"Hopefully, this time around, without the ETS hanging over us, we can actually pull something together that is fit for purpose."

It's a sentiment echoed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairperson Kate Acland.

"While we are prepared to be part of a new group that discusses how to manage New Zealand's agricultural emissions, any involvement will be with full transparency and discussion with our farmers. We will not allow this to be a repeat of the He Waka Eke Noa process."

Acland said Beef + Lamb New Zealand would not support a price on agricultural emissions to achieve reductions, while emissions reductions are already happening more quickly than needed.

"Based on this, there is absolutely no justification for a price. This is a non-negotiable for our farmers.

"Our view is that we should be focused on the outcome we are trying to achieve – the management of agricultural emissions – and be open to solutions and different ways of achieving this.

"Sheep and beef farmers have reduced their absolute emissions by more than 30% since 1990 and are offsetting a significant proportion of their remaining emissions through the trees and native vegetation on their farms."

Acland said much of this sequestration is still not recognised or rewarded and that recent analysis by AgResearch indicated sheep production is already "warming neutral".

By Claire Inkson