Climate Change Commission advice on ETS forestry offset limits vindicates B+LNZ stance

// Climate Change

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) says the Climate Change Commission’s stark advice that emissions are being offset instead of being reduced and that the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) “is likely to deliver mostly new plantation forestry rather than gross emission reductions” vindicates its ongoing demands for forestry offset limits in the ETS.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the Commission’s advice shows how urgently action is needed.

“We urgently need limits on the amount of forestry offsets available in the ETS to fossil fuel emitters. The Climate Change Commission’s advice vindicates what we’ve been saying for some time.

“There are already too many whole-farm sales of productive sheep and beef farmland for the purposes of carbon farming, as shown by the research we’ve commissioned and acknowledged by the Commission, with serious consequences for rural communities.

“The increasing price of carbon credits is already distorting what land is worth and if the price rises to what the Commission is recommending, there will be even more sales. This has the potential to be catastrophic for our industry and rural communities and the Government needs to act now, or risk jeopardising the $12 billion income per year for New Zealand the red meat sector generates.”

McIvor says the measures the Government has taken to limit the increasing amount of exotic carbon forestry planting – adjusting the OIO streamlined forestry test and proposals to restrict exotic forestry in the permanent forest category of the ETS – won’t address the problem.

“The Government needs to put specific limits in the ETS on the amount of offsetting fossil fuel emitters can do – in line with what happens internationally. They need to stop tinkering around the edges and sort the problem out at the source – by amending the ETS legislation – and they need to do it urgently, particularly if they’re looking to raise the price caps.”

McIvor says that the skyrocketing carbon price will hit rural communities doubly hard as it will impact on the cost of business through fuel prices.

“Today’s advice also makes it even more important that agriculture has a separate emissions pricing system outside the ETS. If agriculture is put into the ETS, the price of our on-farm methane emissions will be linked to the rapidly-increasing carbon price rather than to achieving methane-specific targets that address methane-specific warming impact. That would be a disastrous outcome.”

The Climate Change Commission has recently provided advice saying it supports the farm-level pricing approach and split gas model proposed by the He Waka Eke Noa primary sector climate action partnership as an alternative to the ETS (although B+LNZ disagrees with its recommendations on how to treat sequestration and fertiliser in relation to that system).

Information on the Commission’s advice is on their website.


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