New Zealand to price sheep and cow burps to reduce greenhouse gases

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WELLINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) – New Zealand released a draft plan on Wednesday to price agricultural emissions in a bid to tackle one of the country’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases, belching of sheep and cattle.

The proposal would make New Zealand, a major agricultural exporter, the first country to make farmers pay for livestock emissions, the environment ministry said.

New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, has about 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep.

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Nearly half of its total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mostly methane, but agricultural emissions have already been exempted from the country’s emissions trading scheme, prompting criticism. criticism of the government’s commitment to stopping global warming.

According to the draft plan, drawn up by representatives of the government and the farming community, farmers will have to pay for their gas emissions from 2025. Short-lived and long-lived agricultural gas will be priced separately, although only one measurement to calculate their volume will be used. .

“There is no doubt that we need to reduce the amount of methane we put into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key role in how we do this,” said the Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

The proposal includes incentives for farmers who reduce emissions through feed additives, while on-farm forestry can be used to offset emissions. Revenues from the program will be invested in research, development and advisory services to farmers.

“Our recommendations enable sustainable food and fiber production for future generations while playing an equitable role in meeting our country’s climate commitments,” said Michael Ahie, Chair of Primary Sector Partnership, He Waka Eke Noa. .

The proposal would potentially be the biggest regulatory disruption to farming since farm subsidies were scrapped in the 1980s, said Susan Kilsby, agricultural economist at ANZ Bank.

A final decision on the scheme is expected in December.

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Reporting by Lucy Craymer; edited by Richard Pullin

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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