12 Apr 2012

Agriculture ETS could be delayed again

6:33 am on 12 April 2012

The inclusion of agricultural emissions in the Emissions Trading Scheme could be delayed for another three years, under changes the Government is proposing.

The Government has released a consultation document setting out its proposals, following recommendations from the first ETS review in 2012.

Under the current framework, the agricultural sector will have to report emissions and meet its full obligations from 2015.

As well as farmers and growers, that includes meat and dairy processors and fertiliser companies.

The Government is proposing a mechanism that would allow it to delay the inclusion of emissions from livestock and fertiliser use for up to three years, if certain conditions are not met, following a further review in 2014.

The Government says it won't support the entry of agricultural emissions into the scheme unless there are practical technologies available to reduce those emissions and New Zealand's international competitors are also doing their bit to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Government is also proposing to provide more flexibility for forestry in the ETS by allowing off-setting.

That means owners of pre-1990 exotic forests could fell them without penalty and put the land to other uses, provided they replanted the same area of forest somewhere else.

Delay gets Fed Farmers support

Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English says his organisation supports the idea of delaying the inclusion of animal emissions in the ETS unless there is mitigation technology or New Zealand's trading partners make a move in this direction.

He says agriculture and farmers are essentially in the ETS already since they pay tax on their energy inputs just like every other business in New Zealand.

Mr English says what is not in at the moment is animal emissions and no other country is looking to bring those in at the moment.