The Ministry for the Environment released a discussion document yesterday with policies building on the Interim Climate Change Committee's (ICCC) recommendations for agricultural emissions (see here).

The Government's preferred approach is that emissions are priced through the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), with:

  • Fertiliser emissions priced at the processor (manufacturers and importers) level – ideally from 2020/ 2021;
  • Livestock emissions priced (through a farm level levy/ rebate scheme) from 2025, if feasible;
  • As an interim measure, pricing livestock and fertiliser emissions at the processor level (dairy processors, meat processors and fertiliser manufacturers and importers) via the ETS from 2021 to 2025;
  • A 95% free allocation of emissions units on agricultural emissions included in the ETS; and
  • Funds raised (estimated to be a minimum of $47 million) to be fed back into the agricultural sector to incentivise on-farm emissions reductions, and to fund implementation.

Primary sector leaders have at the same time released the Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment (see here), which proposes a formal sector-government agreement. A key difference with this alternative is that it would provide the sector ownership of the challenge of delivering a price on emissions at the farm level, and that it would rely on existing government funding, and industry levies to administer the scheme.

The Government is inviting feedback from the public on both the ICCC report and the industry alternative, with the submissions period closing on 13 August 2019. In the meantime, public information sessions are being held throughout the country. Sessions are being held in Christchurch on Wednesday 24 July at The George Hotel at 5:30 pm and on Thursday 25 July at the Ashburton Events Centre at 10am.

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