The New Zealand government intends to introduce a greenhouse gas tax on fertilizer and livestock production. The National Association of Farmers welcomed the project, but warned that farmers should not be burdened too strictly, writes agrarheute.com.
New Zealand wants to become carbon neutral by 2050. Achieving this goal is impossible without a significant contribution from the agricultural sector, as its share is almost 50% of all greenhouse gases generated in the country. The government is currently developing an “Action Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Emissions in Agriculture” together with farmers’ associations.
Officials and representatives of the agricultural sector have agreed in principle that from 2025, at the level of farms, the amount of greenhouse gases will be registered, and livestock farmers will pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere. When the new tax is introduced, the government will initially provide 95% of the pollution allowance for free.
According to the New Zealand Department of the Environment, at the current level of the greenhouse gas tax equivalent to €16.50/ton CO2, the equivalent tax for farmers would be just €0.6 cents per kilogram of beef or milk powder produced and less than 1 cent for mutton.
In addition, the administrative costs and costs of farmers to reduce greenhouse emissions will be considered. For example, if emissions are below the established norm or farmers implement environmental measures such as planting trees, they will receive compensation from the budget.
By 2025, a system for controlling greenhouse emissions is planned to be introduced in every livestock farm and processing plant for meat and milk.
New Zealand’s Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor praised the cooperation between the government and the agricultural sector in the field of climate protection.
For his part, Andrew Hoggard, the National Farmers Union’s climate policy representative, welcomed the plan, but warned that overburdening the agricultural sector should be avoided.
That price should create incentives to cut methane production, similar to the transition to electric cars, he says.
Unfortunately, “electric sheep” do not exist, so livestock owners will have to look for other options to lower emissions.