National must honour Paris with deadline for agricultural emissions

The National Government must honour the Paris climate agreement by setting a deadline for including agriculture as part of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Now is not the time to gamble on “silver bullet” solutions, the Green Party said today.

“It has been less than a week since the world signed the historic Paris climate agreement and already the National Government has reverted to its polluting stereotype. We saw Government hock off more of New Zealand’s oceans for oil drilling yesterday, and now it refuses to discuss when climate damaging pollution from agriculture might be priced in the Emissions Trading Scheme,” said Green Party agricultural spokesperson, Eugenie Sage.

“This National Government continues to gamble on technological innovations such as a methane vaccine to one-day cut agricultural pollution.

“Even if the National Government believe scientific “silver bullets” will solve agricultural pollution, it has to commit to including agriculture in the ETS in the near future. By then, either the Government will be proven right, and science will have solved agricultural emissions, or it’ll be wrong, and the agricultural industry will have to start taking responsibility for reducing emissions itself.

“If the National Government allows agricultural pollution to keep growing unchecked, working New Zealanders will be left with a huge bill to pay for those emissions.

“This smacks of a government kicking long term economic and environmental challenges down the road for future generations and governments to fix. 

“A free pass for agriculture is sending the wrong signal to farmers and the wider New Zealand economy. It says that climate change doesn’t matter. It says keep polluting and don’t invest in more resilient, climate friendly farming. 

“Very early testing of the methane vaccine is showing some positive signs, but the Government can’t guarantee farmers that the vaccine will be safe, affordable, or fully effective in reducing agricultural emissions.

“Farmers don’t want to be part of the problem; but they need incentives to shift to climate friendly farming practices. Putting a fair price on climate pollution would help do that,” she said.

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