Including ag emissions in ETS red not green

Federated farmers’ president Bruce Wills explains why including agricultural emissions in an ETS isn’t good policy:

In every other country, putting farm biological emissions in an ETS type-framework is as alien as Richie McCaw donning the green and gold and singing Advance Australia Fair.

Take this golden Daily Mail headline in Britain from last year: “Buy New Zealand lamb to save the planet.” Then in May came the UK’s Observer with: “Why worrying about food miles is missing the point.” . . .

We would argue that inclusion penalises us for being good farmers that will only leak carbon to less efficient countries. Where’s the global good in that?

As Jay Rayner put it to his British readers when comparing apples with, well, apples: “The researchers found that the actual weight of nitrogen fertiliser used was roughly similar in both countries (80kg per hectare in NZ to 78kg in the UK).

“However, in New Zealand they were getting a yield of 50 tonnes per hectare, as against 14 tonnes in Britain. Where lamb was concerned yield was higher in the UK than New Zealand, but so was nitrogen fertiliser use by a factor of more than 13.

“New Zealand simply has a better landscape and climate for rearing lamb and apples.”

This doesn’t fit with the radical red anti-trade agenda which would take us back centuries to when almost all food was grown locally.

Letting New Zealand farmers do what we do best and shipping the produce half way round the world is being better for the environment than buying local in Britain.

A tax which would reduce production here and increase where they can’t farm as efficiently as we can, as including agricultural emissions in an ETS would,  is red policy not green.

29 Responses to Including ag emissions in ETS red not green

  1. Andrei says:

    The whole concept of the ETS is looney tunes and that fact that National failed to flush it down the toilet is one of the reasons why National is not worth voting for.

  2. Armchair Critic says:

    Of course the farmers union want again emissions exempted Ele. It’s a nice fat subsidy from the taxpayer that other businesses don’t benefit from and everyone who receives a subsidy loves their particular subsidy, it goes without saying.

  3. Andrei says:

    It’s a nice fat subsidy from the taxpayer that other businesses don’t benefit from and everyone who receives a subsidy loves their particular subsidy

    What a load of balderdash!

    The ETS is a wealth transfer scheme from the productive class to the parasite class and nothing more than a scam.

    And because you are clearly not very intelligent you probably cannot grasp that it is not the farmers who will be the ones to ultimately pay the ETS but the final consumers of what the farmers produce who will – making food more expensive!!!!!!!!!!

    And guess what, oh one of little brain, if production of primary produce in New Zealand becomes more expensive ( to the advantage of the troughing classes and nobody else) the overseas consumers will buy their agricultural products from nations that are not as wacked out as our own because they will end up being cheaper – better value for money, if you will.

    As a point of interest New Zealand’s largest export commodities by value are agricultural in origin and the imposition of an ETS on them may well be described as “biting the hand that feeds us”.

    We are getting stupider by the day – I blame the welfare state myself,

  4. Roger Barton says:

    AC I have 243 hectares of regenerating native bush protected by covenant. Do you think I should be able to use the carbon sequestered to offset my animal based emissions?

  5. robertguyton says:

    Andrei says of Armchair Critic:
    “And because you are clearly not very intelligent…”


  6. robertguyton says:

    Roger – the regenerating bush is off-setting your animal based emissions. To what extent, I can’t tell, but that’s just what they are already doing, off-setting.

  7. Andrei says:

    LOL Robert I must be very dumb because I just don’t get carbon credits nor how farmers not buying them is a subsidy from the taxpayers to farmers

    Perhaps you can explain to us all how the long suffering Kiwi taxpayer will be better off if farmers are forced to buy “carbon credits”?

    And while you are about it what are they useful for? How do “carbon credits” increase milk production, or improve meat quality?

    And since they do nothing useful why would anybody in their right mind buy them?

    In the meantime I’m off to celebrate, this nice Nigerian woman is going to put US$10 million into my bank account from her late husband’s estate and I get to keep $1 million of it for just letting her use my bank account.

    Aint life grand

  8. Roger Barton says:

    Yes RG a nd the way the ETS is configured is that IF animal emissions were included and charged for at source I would not be allowed to claim those tonnes of carbon sequestered. It isn’t eligible…..go figure! I can’t and MPI or old MAF won’t debate it. Very frustrating I can assure you.

  9. TraceyS says:

    So you’re spending just a little more time in the office dealing with red tape than out on the farm doing productive things? And as time goes on just a little more, and then a little more of our productive time is channeled into unproductive activities.

  10. Paranormal says:

    And there you have it Andrei – exactly the reason why the good people at Enron invented carbon trading.

    It was a ‘market’ that traded something that couldn’t be quantified in a way they could control to make more money than they were making on the real markets. It meant they wouldn’t have any of those inconvenient hiccups when people realised Enron was manipulating things in the real markets.

    Makes you kind of wonder why anyone with any integrity, especially the Greens, would be all for carbon trading.

  11. robertguyton says:

    I understand your frustration, Roger. Your bush is in reality, sequestering carbon at the same time your livestock is releasing it as greenhouse gas. Not being able to claim money for your bush on top of that seems unfair if it had been promised earlier. At leats you get some satisfaction above that of a farmer who has no mitigation in place.
    Andrei – don’t talk yourself down – no one is suggesting that you are dumb. You say you don’t get carbon credits and that’s no surprise as you aren’t growing trees for that purpose, so far as I know. You also say you don’t understand how farmers are being subsidised by the general taxpayer, with regards our greenhouse gas bill. You do know we are paying one, don’t you? The National Government is paying a lot of money to the international community to honour it’s agreement to pay for, or reduce, NZ’s emissions. As farm animals produce almost half of those emissions, you can see how, through farmers not paying for their stock’s belches (and the urea spread on the pastures etc), the general taxpayer has to pay the full amount. Some industries that produce significant amounts of greenhouse gas, pay to do so. The farming industry does not.
    Does that help? It’s possible I’ve not got everything completely accurate but you yourself say you don’t understand the situation. I’ve tried to keep it simple for you (though I’m not implying that you’re dumb. I don’t doubt that Armchair Critic will comment when he gets home from work and he’s very intelligent, from what I can gather from his comments here. He’ll straighten out any mistakes I may have made. Roger too, seems intelligent. He may wish to comment.

  12. robertguyton says:

    Blame the Government for that, Tracey.

  13. robertguyton says:

    A carbon tax would be much more effective in reducing greenhouse gas release into the atmosphere and in keeping the money in the country.
    Why didn’t anyone propose one???
    Oh, the Greens did argue against carbon trading and they did argue for an effective tax.

  14. Andrei says:

    Help me out here Robert if kiwi farmers are liable for cow belches who is responsible for the farts of the hippos in the Limpopo river?

  15. Andrei says:

    Apologies all you sensitive souls but I couldn’t resist – you have to laugh in the face of GHG Armageddon

  16. TraceyS says:

    Including local government Robert?

  17. Paranormal says:

    Oxymoron spotted – something to do with effective and carbon tax.

    So RG its not the Greens promoting the expansion of the ETS then. I must have been mistaken.

  18. robertguyton says:

    You already do, but let’s see if you’ll sheet any of the blame to your National Party 🙂

  19. robertguyton says:

    You’d have go to the Government’s of the countries (South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique) through which the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and ask them, O Best Beloved.

  20. Armchair Critic says:

    Personal insults Andrei? I thought you were a better person than that.
    Farmers are not the only productive industry, however they are the main ones getting an exemption. Why is that?

  21. robertguyton says:

    You often are, Para. Don’t feel bad – your’e not alone. Mind you, on this issue, you are out there with the front-runners 🙂

  22. JC says:

    They aren’t according to the rest of the sane world.
    We are the only significant agricultural nation to put a cost on animal farts and belches because even the more insane Greens and politicians in Europe recognise its but a short step to then adding humans, wild animals, termites and various other flora and fauna to the madness of emissions taxes and credits.

    As an example of this madness, NZ should immediately clearfell all native bush and replace it with exotics like P radiata because these exotic species are vastly more efficient in sequestering CO2.

    No sane country which is a significant producer and exporter of agricultural products has signed up to penalising farts and burps except NZ, ergo, we are nuts.. and nuts are not to be trusted.


  23. Armchair Critic says:

    It’s my opinion that it is nonsense for FF to argue for an exemption for farmers but not for all industry. Hence my use of the dreaded “s” word. Their argument is bankrupt and it seems quite appropriate that the opening paragraph that Ele quotes is, according to Johnson, the last refuge of scoundrels.
    As I see it, it’s either “all in”, or “all out and replace the ETS with something else”.

  24. Paranormal says:

    So how about responding to why the Greens are so in favour of an ETS now RG?

  25. homepaddock says:

    Perhaps someone could explain how taxing efficient producers with no practical options for reducing emissions will help the environment?

  26. robertguyton says:

    Nothing can be done to reduce, greenhouse emissions from farms, Ele?
    The Government’s much trumpeted research into just that has come to naught?
    And here was me thinking farmers were innovators.
    Very disappointing!
    Perhaps someone could explain how farmers will cope when climate change negatively affects their production?

  27. robertguyton says:

    What do you mean, “an ETS”. Please detail what it is the Greens are actually saying, Paranormal. It’s always good to base discussion on verifiable facts. Link us up and we’ll discuss the Green’s position.

  28. Mr E says:

    Here is the current outcome of the ETS. Either:
    Tax farmers – For emissions
    or Force them to reduce production back to 1990 levels.

    In the presence of the ETS we have seen a shift of research funds from usual channels into greenhouse gas research. Some would laude this progress. I am not sure. I guess time will tell. I am left asking the question “can this money be better spent elsewhere. Are gains towards efficiency better than gains towards reduced emissions?” Historically the answer to this question has been “Yes”

    NZ farmers are some of the most efficient on the planet for turning resources into product. Our research and innovative thinking has already made us highly efficient in this arena. Mr Wills has pointed this out and overseas markets are beginning to recognise this. If we further penalise farmers with the option or ‘reduce production or be taxed’ we simply discourage production where it is most efficient. A fact that some green people are repetitively willing to ignore. It begs the question of whether their agenda is to save the planet or advance their political ambitions?

  29. Armchair Critic says:

    Andrei has probably found that his analogy has fallen apart, because (unlike cows in NZ) the majority of hippos in the Limpopo river are not being farmed. As he won’t be able to admit it he has got it wrong, won’t be replying to your comment any time soon.

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