Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

UPDATE: Gradual transition to sustainable agriculture key

UPDATE: Gradual transition to sustainable agriculture key - O'Connor

(Updates with details of new terms of reference from 10th paragraph)

By Gavin Evans

March 15 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand needs to get right its gradual transition to more sustainable agriculture and ensure that production values are sustained, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.

The sector has a critical role to play in meeting the country’s emissions reduction goals and the government needs to focus on making the goal posts clear, he said.

“Policy decisions around agriculture need to be based on scientific advice and consultation so the sector has well-considered, effective and – most importantly – workable solutions,” he said in a joint statement with Climate Change Minister James Shaw and Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods.

The government today announced plans to tweak the terms of reference for the Interim Climate Change Committee it established last year.

The committee was asked to look at how agriculture could be incorporated into the emissions trading scheme and how the government’s goal for 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035 could be effected. It is due to report back by April 30 and was originally to have reported to the incoming Climate Change Commission.

Shaw says the revised terms of reference will allow the committee to deliver its two reports directly to him – something that was inevitable, given the Zero Carbon Bill that will create the commission is five months behind schedule.

Shaw said the change will allow the government to consider the committee’s findings and act with necessary pace.

“This is a step forward, enabling more time for focused consultation with New Zealanders on important climate change legislation proposals.”

It is important feedback on the committee’s recommendations is sought from across the country, including the primary sector, he said.

The new terms of reference ask the committee to provide a third report for the incoming commission no later than Sept. 30. It is to contain “evidence and analysis of plausible pathways to, and any elements of, the 2050 emissions reduction targets.”

When preparing that advice, the committee is required to take into account 10 matters, including the roles of both forestry and international abatements in meeting the 2050 targets.

It must consider the potential impact on the competitiveness of “particular sectors of the economy, including the Maori economy.” It must also consider the “distribution of impacts and their equity implications, for example regional differences in the capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and social circumstances.”

Agriculture accounts for about half the country’s emissions. In December, the committee received a report from the Biological Emissions Reference Group which said farmers want to reduce on-farm emissions but many were not aware of mitigation strategies and few had any idea of the emission rates from their property.

It suggested improved management practices could reduce emissions from pasture-based livestock by about 10 percent now. The group had medium to high confidence that methane inhibitors would deliver a 10-30 percent reduction in biogenic methane by 2030 and high confidence that a 30-50 percent reduction could be achieved by 2050.

The Interim Climate Change Committee told iwi leaders last month that accountability for livestock emissions should ultimately lie with each farm, but simple, user-friendly ways to measure and report those will not be feasible near-term.

It believed the simplest way to price emissions would be with a levy, and that the government-mandated 95 percent-free allocation for farmers should be enough to lessen the social impacts of the change. Pricing at the processor level could be used in the meantime.

The committee did not favour farm-level accountability for emissions from fertiliser. It believed any of the pricing options – a dual-cap ETS, a quota system, or a levy – could reflect different targets for short- and long-lived gases.

The committee is also wary of pursuing the government’s target of achieving 100 percent renewable power generation in a year of normal hydrology.

It says provisional modelling suggests the country is on track to be 93 percent renewable by 2035. Emission benefits from pursuing ever higher levels of renewables are “relatively small.”

“Instead of focusing on the last 8 percent, New Zealand has a major opportunity to use its abundant renewable electricity to get more bang for our buck – using this electricity to reduce emissions from transport and process heat.”

Earlier this month, Shaw told delegates at the Downstream energy conference in Auckland that the ETS reform legislation would probably go to parliament mid-year, about a month behind the Zero Carbon Bill, which he thought would probably reach parliament in May.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Industry Report: Growing Interactive Sector Wants Screen Grants

Introducing a coordinated plan that invests in emerging talent and allows interactive media to access existing screen industry programmes would create hundreds of hi-tech and creative industry jobs. More>>

ALSO:

Ground Rules: Government Moves To Protect Best Growing Land

“Continuing to grow food in the volumes and quality we have come to expect depends on the availability of land and the quality of the soil. Once productive land is built on, we can’t use it for food production, which is why we need to act now.” More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society: Calls For Overhaul Of Gene-Technology Regulations

An expert panel considering the implications of new technologies that allow much more controlled and precise ‘editing’ of genes, has concluded it’s time for an overhaul of the regulations and that there’s an urgent need for wide discussion and debate about gene editing... More>>

ALSO:

Retail: Card Spending Dips In July

Seasonally-adjusted electronic card spending dipped in July by 0.1 percent after being flat in June, according to Stats NZ. Economists had expected a 0.5 percent lift, according to the median in a Bloomberg poll. More>>

ALSO:

Product Stewardship: Govt Takes More Action To Reduce Waste

The Government is proposing a new way to deal with environmentally harmful products before they become waste, including plastic packing and bottles, as part of a wider plan to reduce the amount of rubbish ending up in landfills. More>>

ALSO:

Earnings Update: Fonterra Sees Up To $675m Loss On Writedowns

“While the Co-op’s FY19 underlying earnings range is within the current guidance of 10-15 cents per share, when you take into consideration these likely write-downs, we expect to make a reported loss of $590-675 million this year, which is a 37 to 42 cent loss per share." More>>

ALSO: