Our senior scientist Robyn Dynes gave her assessment:
"This report from the Climate Change Commission gives plenty for the Government to chew on, particularly in the area of measuring and accounting for carbon sequestration through on-farm vegetation.
I’ve said previously that an industry-wide commitment to a farm-level, split-gas pricing system is an important step on the journey to help farmers manage their emissions, and the commission has stated that a farm-level pricing system supported by well-designed, well-thought-through policy, will be key to achieving emissions reductions in line with the budgets and targets for Aotearoa.
I agree with the commission that a lot of work has gone in from all parties through He Waka Eke Noa, and that good progress has been made towards getting farmers ready for farm-level pricing. If the Government does pursue a pricing system that sits outside of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), there is clearly still a lot of work to be done to have a workable and equitable pricing system in place by 2025. All parties have a part to play here, whether it be around IT systems, measurement, compliance or regulation.
The commission has recommended that carbon sequestration through on-farm vegetation should sit outside any emissions pricing system, and instead could reside in a separate system due to the complexities, risk of inequity, a lack of impact on emissions, and the fact that some sequestration is already recognised through the ETS. I expect this recommendation will be met with some disappointment from farmers who had expected recognition from sequestration through on-farm vegetation in the He Waka Eke Noa pricing model.
As scientists, we have an important role in helping to grow the science in this area, and developing robust and reliable methods of estimating carbon sequestration on-farm, so that it can be effectively incorporated into an emissions pricing system or a separate system from 2025.”
Note: Robyn and colleagues at AgResearch provided science advice to He Waka Eke Noa as part of its considerations.