Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough
HWEN far better option than ETS
The Primary Sector Climate
Action Partnership’s (He Waka
Eke Noa) proposed emissions pricing scheme has been in the media recently as some farmers are worried about the impacts on our sector.
These concerns are understandable and it’s right that people ask questions.
Emissions pricing will have an impact, and our awareness of its impact on red meat producers particularly has informed the positions we’ve taken during the He Waka Eke Noa process.
Like farmers, B+LNZ would prefer emissions weren’t priced and farmers didn’t face additional costs.
However, the Government has made it clear it will price emissions (the legislation is already in place to bring us into the Emissions Trading Scheme next year) and we’re trying to get the best outcome for farmers.
Agriculture fought for the opportunity to develop an alternative pricing mechanism. If we don’t convince the
Government the He Waka Eke Noa alternative is credible, the price we’ll likely pay is going into the
ETS – which we believe will be far worse for our farmers.
Going into the ETS would mean losing the split gas target for methane as the methane price will be linked to the soaring carbon price. While still needing work, the split gas targets were another significant win for agriculture as 19,000 submissions at the time supported all gases going to net zero.
Farmers have made it clear they do not want to be included in the ETS.
The He Waka Eke Noa proposal is by no means perfect, nor it is cast in stone. By being outside the ETS, we will have the opportunity to refine it over time as new science, technologies and mitigation tools become available.
It hasn’t been easy getting to this point. Any process that involves an entire sector, central Government and iwi will inevitably be complex and difficult. All partners have had to make compromises and concessions in order to get a fair and equitable pricing framework that works across the entire sector.
There were some bottom lines. We pushed for a cautious approach to pricing, for as much sequestration to be recognised as possible and for potential levy relief where no mitigation options are available and sequestration is limited.
Sequestration is a deal-breaker. If that were to be carved off, this would fundamentally change He Waka Eke Noa and we’d need to reconsider our involvement. Our long-term objective with sequestration is to get it all into the ETS, but this would not likely be possible by 2025 when a price on emissions comes in.
B+LNZ is also continuing to lobby the Government for more research into how much carbon is being sequestered by native vegetation and soil.
Outside of He Waka Eke Noa, we’re pushing hard to get the Government to review the unfairly high methane reduction targets in legislation.
The price sensitivity of our sector is a key reason the targets need to be adjusted, as the higher the target the higher the price that potentially needs to be applied in order to achieve the target.
We’re urging the Government to report on warming as well as emissions and to ensure the legislated review of targets in 2024 uses the latest science – that means using appropriate metrics such as GWP*. We’re working across the agriculture sector with dairy, deer and arable on this.