Today the Government has released its proposal and consultation document for farm-level emissions pricing. Our senior scientist Dr Robyn Dynes gives her take below.

"It is pleasing from a science perspective to see that, on the whole, the Government has proposed adopting a pricing system put forward by He Waka Eke Noa that is evidence-based – one that recognises the differences in greenhouse gases through a split-gas approach, is at farm-level and which will reward farmers for adopting new technologies that reduce their on-farm emissions.

This approach will provide clear incentives to reduce emissions, with some of the revenue generated from the pricing system directed back into research to identify and develop greenhouse gas mitigations, which will be critical as we move forward.

We know from our research that greenhouse gas mitigations through efficiency or genetic gains generally have the dual benefit of improving water quality in an agricultural systems context, so as farmers make gains on reducing greenhouse gas emissions we know that it should also help us address another of the biggest challenges for New Zealand.

 The consultation document that has been released by the Government acknowledges the challenges of equity across different sectors, and this will undoubtedly be a topic that is debated in the consultation process. For example, a risk has been identified that a sector such as sheep and beef farmers could be disproportionately impacted by costs relative to their net revenue, and it will be important to the fabric and wellbeing of our farming communities that this issue of equity is carefully considered in the implementation of any pricing system.

The consultation provides an opportunity to close the gaps between what the Government has proposed and the preferred approach of the industries, including the equity issue.    

The pricing system as proposed reflects the reality that agriculture, like all parts of our society, needs to do its part to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

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