Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has today confirmed the next steps in the Government’s partnership with the primary sector to develop a strategy for on-farm carbon sequestration.
The recognition of on-farm sequestration will be a core component of the Government’s work to reduce New Zealand’s agricultural climate emissions.
“We want a plan for reducing agricultural emissions we can all agree on. We’ve heard sequestration is a top priority for farmers and critical to making He Waka Eke Noa work,” Ms Ardern said.
“The Government has already committed to sequestration being recognised and compensated for from 2025. The He Waka Eke Noa partnership, the Climate Change Commission, and the Government all agree that it needs to be done in a way that is fair, cost-effective, and scientifically robust.”
The Prime Minister said the recent consultation process had highlighted how important the issue of sequestration is to farmers.
“This is work we already had underway, but next step will be to work closely with farmers to develop the scientific, and policy approaches needed to best recognise sequestration that occurs on farms,” she said.
“The best way to achieve sustainable emissions reduction is by working together. The Government remains committed to He Waka Eke Noa and we are pleased to undertake this important work on sequestration with farmers to help deliver it,” Ms Ardern said.
Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor said the industry had asked for a plan that covers all forms of scientifically robust sequestration possible on-farm.
“…And we support that. There is more work to do, much of it technical, but today we affirm that this will be undertaken in close partnership with the sector,” he said.
“The sector partnership recommended that the Emissions Trading Scheme be improved and updated to allow more vegetation categories to be included and that vegetation types eligible under He Waka Eke Noa could be transitioned into the NZ ETS as it is expanded and improved.
“This builds on the Government’s commitment to establish native forests at scale to develop long term carbon sinks and improve biodiversity.”
Climate Change Minister, James Shaw said what the Government was proposing was a significant shift in the way the Emissions Trading Scheme works.
“It means farmers will get full recognition for scientifically proven sequestration on their farms. This should unlock a wave of research, science and innovation into forms of emissions removal that also enhance biodiversity and other important values that aren’t always achieved through exotic forestry plantations,” he said.
“Bringing new categories into the ETS may take some time, so there will also be a need to ensure transitional arrangements from 2025.
“In-line with the Primary Sector Partnership’s original proposal, the Government is committed to sequestration being recognised from 2025,” said Mr Shaw.
The s215 Report on emissions pricing is expected to be published by the end of 2022. A series of policy decisions on He Waka Eke Noa will be made in early 2023 with the aim to introduce legislation by the middle of the year.