The government has always made it clear agriculture wouldn’t be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme unless our competitors did it too.
None of them have any intention of doing so in the near future and Climate Change Minister Nick Smith has given a very clear message that it’s unlikely we will either:
New Zealand farmers are unlikely to be brought into the emissions trading scheme in 2015 unless scientific advances are made in reducing animal emissions and our trading partners make giant strides in putting a price on carbon, the Government says.
Speaking at the Federated Farmers National Council yesterday, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith noted the Government had already said it would not proceed with the inclusion of agriculture and other sectors until it sees comparable progress from other countries.
Including agriculture here when it’s not done anywhere else will make our produce less competitive. It won’t make any improvement to global emissions and may even make them worse if production drops here and increases in other places where it is less efficient.
The requirement for scientific advances before agriculture is included is also important.
The point of emissions taxes is to change behaviour.
Science has not yet come up with anything which will help to reduce agricultural emissions so there’s no point taxing them.
This doesn’t mean New Zealand is doing nothing to fulfil it’s Kyoto commitments. The Global Research Alliance, which was a New Zealand initiative at the Copenhagen conference last year, is attracting praise and investment from around the world.