WELLINGTON, July 16 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced Tuesday that the government reached an historic consensus with farming leaders to implement farm-level pricing of climate change emissions from the agriculture sector by 2025.
New Zealand government launched a consultation document on Tuesday, informed by the work of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC), on how to bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme, a key part of the government's plan to tackle climate change and reduce New Zealand's emissions.
Agricultural emissions make up nearly half of New Zealand's total emissions profile and are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand.
"It's about offering choices to farmers and growers, along with the supports they need, to measure and manage agricultural greenhouse emissions so they can benefit from making emissions reductions," said Shaw.
"The big breakthrough is that, for the first time, the leadership of the main farmers' organizations and farming businesses have reached a level of consensus amongst themselves that emissions pricing is part of the solution for reducing agricultural emissions, as it is for the rest of the economy," the minister said.
"The cooperation and consensus between the farming sector and the government is an incredibly important shift from farmers and growers on the need to tackle climate change compared to nearly 30 years ago," Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.
The ICCC recommends developing a fund, led by farming leaders, to build the skills, and technologies farmers will need to measure and manage their on-farm emissions.
It is estimated that it could provide a fund of 47 million New Zealand dollars (31 million U.S. dollars) a year which would be 100 percent recycled back into fitting out farmers and growers with the measurement tools and know-how to control farm emissions through a processor levy over the next five years, which would eventually lead to farmers handling emissions at the farm-gate by 2025.
Farmers would receive a 95 percent discount on emissions in line with similar discounts for other industries. (1 U.S. dollar =1.49 New Zealand dollars)