After an outcry from farmers the government has made some changes to its proposal to price agricultural carbon emissions.
It has released its response to the more than 23,000 submissions to its plan, though final decisions will not be made until next year.
Instead of using the rising price of carbon to drive change, as the Climate Change Commission suggested, the government is now going to set the levy price as low as possible.
It will also increase what types of trees and vegetation on farms can be used to offset emissions.
The farming industry and Māori will be allowed to give input on setting the price of the levy.
“After listening to farmers and growers through our recent consultation, and engaging over recent months with industry leaders, today we have taken the next steps in establishing a proposed farm-level emissions reduction system as an alternative to the ETS backstop,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’ Connor said the government understood the need for greater certainty for farmers and growers in their business planning.
“We have committed to a five-year price pathway for levy rates from 2025, giving farmers the price certainty the have asked for out to 2030,” he said.
He Waka Eke Noa partners, who jointly submitted on emissions pricing, said the report was moving in the right direction on the pricing system, though there was still work to do on the detail.
The partnership – farmers, industry bodies and Māori with the support of the Primary Industries and Environment Ministries – said it showed the government was listening to the sector.
“This is a high-level, direction-setting report and does not have all the detail farmers and growers will need, but it is an important milestone” He Waka Eke Noa Independent Chair Sarah Paterson said in a statement.
“It confirms that He Waka Eke Noa has been successful in putting the case for a farm-level split-gas levy instead of including agriculture in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.”
Improvements from the government’s pricing proposal included recognition that methane and nitrous oxide levy prices should be ‘the lowest possible to achieve outcomes’ and fixed for a five-year period to give farmers certainty.
The partners wanted continued focus on ensuring there is a balanced approach to price setting, and that the farm-level system wasvup and running by 2025 as partners did not support the introduction of an interim processor-level levy.
More to come …
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz