Introduction | Agriculture emissions | Mitigation requirements |

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and its impact on Agriculture
  While Federated Farmers and other organisations are lobbying to try to avoid Agriculture's participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme ("ETS"), the die was cast when NZ ratified the Kyoto Protocol and in so doing took on the obligations agreed to by the signatories. In NZ's case, it was allocated just under 310 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions credits for the five year period from 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2012.

The question then for the Government was the mechanism by which the Kyoto obligations could be delivered upon. Clearly there needed to be disincentives for GHG emitters to be increasing their emissions when the Protocol was aimed at reductions. A complicating factor in all this is the evolution of the science for calculating emissions. Another issue for NZ is if the Global Warming Potential ("GWP") of methane increases from its current 21 times to a figure closer to 30 times that of CO2. (Methane is the component of animal emissions.)

  In NZ we have three main sources of emission - nearly 50% from the digestive systems of farmed animals, the burning of fossil fuels (eg petrol, diesel & gas) and from forest harvesting (deemed to be a 100% emission when a tree is cut down).

    To vary the assumptions, the figures below are definable & impact on the above text.  
    Input (see above) a. mt b. c. d. $ /t  
  This whole discussion about the preparedness of NZ farmers to accept the authorised version about the carbon footprint and other sustainability issues and premium market customer's perceptions thereof needs to be considered in the light of comments by Professor David Hughes from Imperial College, London. He is an acclaimed expert in the food retail sector, consulting around the world. He told attendees at the NZX Agribusiness Conference in May that for NZ to have continued access to the premium markets (meat in particular), a low or zero carbon foot-print is essential, traceability is a must and water sustainability certification is fast gaining traction as a requirement. In other words, if our farming leaders want to argue "its all too hard", that will come at a significant cost, far greater that the costs of GHG emissions mitigation. It can be said "non-tariff barriers" but remember, the customer is always right!

The following page is a model that can be used to calculate the GHG emissions from individual farming operations with the next page showing mitigation options.
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