New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed this week that a proposal to impose taxes on farmers for methane emissions is pushing ahead – an announcement that has met with mixed responses from the country’s agricultural community.
The New Zealand government first announced in early August it was considering a tax on methane and other greenhouse gas emissions for farmers in the country as part of an effort to reduce the country’s carbon footprint and lower its agricultural emissions by 2025.
“This is an important step forward in New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions future and delivers on our promise to price agriculture emissions from 2025,” said Ardern at a press conference on Tuesday.
Agricultural exports are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, with the number of cattle doubling the number of humans in the country. The methane tax proposal is part of a larger plan to get as close to zero carbon emissions as possible by 2030.
The Zero Carbon Act 2030, announced in May, set three new emissions budgets aimed at making farming more eco-friendly and combating climate change.
Tuesday’s confirmation that the methane tax is being seriously considered has raised concerns in New Zealand’s agricultural community. The proposal has worried farmers, said farm lobbyist Andrew Morrison in an email to members of the farming community.
“We will not accept a system that disproportionately puts our farmers and communities at risk,” he wrote.
Farm lobby group Federated Farmers said in a statement following Ardern’s announcement that the methane tax would “rip the guts out of small-town New Zealand.”
The plan outlined by the New Zealand government says farmers would see the revenue from the methane taxes “recycled back into [the] agriculture sector through new technology, research and incentive payments to farmers.” The plan also claims the country’s agricultural community would benefit by “gaining a price premium for climate friendly agricultural products.”
The proposal is set to be decided upon by the end of November.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN
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