“Methane emissions are the largest component of the biological emissions produced by agriculture and they are a tremendous success story when compared to others, and farmers should not feel pressured to reduce them further” Robin Grieve Chairman of Pastural farming Climate Research said today
Methane emissions, which are not priced through the ETS, have increased by just 4% since 1990 and have been stable for over a decade.
Transport emissions of CO2, which are priced in the ETS, have on the other hand increased by a whopping 82% since 1990 and continue to increase.
“The evidence does not support claims that pricing emissions through the ETS is a successful strategy”.
“The Government is using the threat of putting animal emissions in to the ETS to drive down farm emissions but the ETS is completely the wrong tool for reducing emissions because it does not take in to account the difference between carbon emissions sourced from methane and those from CO2. Putting farmers in the ETS will also more than likely see emissions rise as it punishes all farmers whether they are increasing emissions or decreasing them, so farmer’s likely response would be to increase output to pay the cost thereby increasing emissions.
Farmers must not feel bullied by the threat of the ETS and continue to do the right thing and use the opportunity this interim period provides to devise mechanisms to continue to drive up emissions efficiency and continue to produce increasing quantities of low emissions quality food for a growing world population. What they must not do is reduce production or even cap production just in order to reduce emissions, which by all accounts is their only option currently available.
“All reports and analysis confirm reductions in emissions intensity are possible but reductions in absolute methane emissions, such as the 10% reduction by 2030 the Government proposes in its carbon zero bill, are only achievable at the expense of food production. This is in contravention of NZ’s commitment in the Paris Agreement which requires emissions reductions are not to be achieved at the expense of food production. Faced with a growing world population it is selfish, anti-human and counterproductive to reduce food production. People need to eat and if NZ is too selfish to be concerned about that, other more compassionate countries will have to increase production and this will result in increased global emissions because they are not as efficient as we are.
“Carbon emissions sourced from methane are quite different to carbon emissions sourced from CO2. They are not comparable and while livestock do cause half our carbon emissions they do not cause half our global warming. This is because methane emissions when stable are not causing any increase in atmospheric methane, as opposed to C02 emissions which do cause increases in atmospheric CO2. When methane emissions are stable any warming impact they have would be the same impact CO2 emissions will have once reduced to zero.
“The 95% discount proposed in the back stop ETS proposal for agricultural emissions, equates to the 90% discount and a two for one surrender deal all emission intense trade exposed industry got when they entered the ETS in 2008, so it is nothing special. The taxpayer does not pay the 95% either because there is no payment required by anyone.
“The carbon zero bill requires the Government (not farmers) to reduce methane emissions by 10% by 2030 and is not achievable nor desirable.
“The Government would be well advised to ensure its policies don’t just make matters worse, after all methane is a success story now and that has been nothing to do with the Government and everything to do with innovative farmers continuing to be the best in the world.