New Zealand sets price for sheep and cow burps to reduce greenhouse gases

New Zealand on Wednesday released a draft plan to price agricultural emissions to tackle one of the country’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases, burping sheep and cattle.

The proposal would make New Zealand, a major agricultural exporter, the first country where farmers have to pay for emissions from livestock, the environment ministry said.

New Zealand, home to 5 million people, has about 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep.

Almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mostly methane, but agricultural emissions were previously exempted from the country’s emissions trading scheme, drawing criticism of the government’s commitment to curbing global warming.

Under the draft plan, drawn up by government and farming community officials, farmers will have to pay for their gas emissions from 2025. Short- and long-lived agricultural gas are priced separately, although a single measure is used to calculate their volume.

“There is no question that we need to reduce the amount of methane we put into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key role in how we do that,” said Climate Secretary James Shaw.

The proposal includes incentives for farmers to reduce emissions from feed additives, while on-farm forestry can be used to offset emissions. Proceeds from the program are invested in research, development and advisory services for farmers.

“Our recommendations enable sustainable food and fiber production for future generations while making a fair contribution to meeting our country’s climate commitments,” said Michael Ahie, Chair of the Primary Sector Partnership, He Waka Eke Noa.

The proposal would be potentially the biggest regulatory disruption to agriculture since farm subsidies were scrapped in the 1980s, said Susan Kilsby, agricultural economist at ANZ Bank.

A final decision on the program is expected in December. New Zealand sets price for sheep and cow burps to reduce greenhouse gases

Fry Electronics Team

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