Farming out of ETS until at least 2018

A fairly cryptic release yesterday of the government's review of the emissions trading scheme has one little pearler in it: farming will stay out of the ETS until 2018. At least.

Of course, it isn't put as clearly as that. Heaven forbid.

This is a document about climate change and the emissions trading scheme, which means it has been scanned carefully for any statement that says what it means or means what it says.

Any sentence with a whiff of clarity has been ruthlessly expunged.

But buried away in the consultation paper is the suggestion that the government might delay including agriculture emissions in the scheme past the planned date of 2015, perhaps until 2018.

For "perhaps" read "definitely will".

There are conditions put around any delay, but this is where it looks as though our servants in the Beehive have been taking note of what another government did, 10 years ago on the other side of the world, when faced with the difficulties of an international agreement it was divided on and which would have hurt some of its key supporters.

That government was the Tony Blair Labour government in the United Kingdom, facing the decision to enter the European common currency.

The move was controversial in the country and the cabinet was split: Blair himself was keen but Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown was not.

So Mr Brown played along with the idea, but devised an infamous set of "five tests" which needed to be met.

They were only ostensibly economic – the tests were, as a Treasury official admitted in an unguarded moment, political rather than economic.

They were also devised in a way which meant all five were unlikely to be met at any one time.

The UK stayed out of the euro, something about which its citizens now seem highly relieved.

It seems ministers in the current New Zealand government have been watching and learning.

True, there are only two tests for delaying extending the ETS to New Zealand's most successful industry, rather than five.

The tests are vague, which provides plenty of wiggle room.

They are, first, that the farming industry must have technologies available to reduce its emissions.

And second, and much more helpfully from a political point of view, it will not happen unless "international competitors are taking sufficient action on their emissions in general".

The competitors are unnamed, and "sufficient action" is left airily undefined, even without that "in general" tag at the end, which is a dead giveaway that this is being left as woolly as possible.

Underlying this appears to be a further calculation: that the Kyoto Protocol and its various policy offshoots is not going to be around, at least in its current form, by the time anyone has to make a decision on this.

The ETS remains on the country's other emissions, and the government expects to gather $583 million this year in climate change related imposts.

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14 Comments & Questions

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For crying out loud -- farmers are massively responsible for harmful emissions. This is a complete crock. Fed Farmers and Fonterra putting it over government, and consumers...yet again. Surprise, not. They're all crooks.

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" farmers are massively responsible for harmful emissions."
RUBBISH
It is the CONSUMER of farm production that drives farming production. DOH
AND it is the consumer who will ultimately have to "foot the bill" if this ridiculous tax becomes a reality.
AND if it does become a reality, you can bet your farm that the climate will not change.
All that will happen is that NZ exports will become less competitive and, as a consequence, NZ must become poorer.
1+1=2 not 3

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You've already been bitten. You have fallen prey to some shonky 'science' which is now being shown for what it is ; purely conjectural and falsified by reality.
Yes , you are a victim , and you have every right to be angry.
CO2 is not a pollutant; it is what plants eat, along with water, and a bit of atmospheric nitrogen, to produce the proteins , carbohydrates and fats that sustain human lives.
The good news is that science has triumphed , and the CAGW lie has been shown for what it is.
Get over it!

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Good on you Farmer Brown. For once I totally agree with you.

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The next move must be to remove the imposition on every dairy processor in the country to register for the ETS, thereby wasting time and money , not to mention the salaries of the public servants involved, in a vain attempt to convince - who?-that NZ takes this rubbish seriously.
Seriously, who do we think that we are fooling?

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NZ Farmers produce far less methane than Asian Rice producers or even rotting material in rain forests- yet these sources of "harmful emissions" are exempt from Kyoto- For cying out loud - it's not about actual Science its about politics

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Is it too early to break out the champers?
Maybe shonkey is growing a spine.

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Do you see Australia rushing to tax their mining industry?

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Time for New Zealand to declare dependence from the Evil Malthusian British Royalty.

CO2 capping is a taxation scam -- Those not controlled by the Anglo-American Bankers are ignoring it.

False Flags, financial frauds, are connected -- "McConnell Links Cameron Carbon Disclosure To Boeing Incendiary Bombs"

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I wonder if someone has asked under the official information act for the number of additional staff being paid by the taxpayer to fund all this carbon foot-in-the-mouth-print research, and what this is costing, and what contingency plan there are to make them redundant now that there is no doubt about the cooling of MINUS 0.5 deg C in NZ over 1998-2010, never mind 2011.

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ETS is a scam of epic magnitude!!! a tax on carbon is a tax on life ! Carbon is the most prolific element on the planet invoved in nearly everything... WAKE UP AND SMELL THE OPPRESSION

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Good catch Rob!

Time to start looking for more hill country for the lambs?? ... the sooner this massive ETS indecision cloud looming over NZ agriculture is removed the quicker it can recover, gain new investment and begin producing to its full potential ... (one might think the tax-gatherers would be in support of that? ... you'd be wrong)

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Pity that Government does not show equity to all land users and has penalised exotic forestry with retrospective legislation and future costs. Why shouldn't each sector of the economy pull its weight equally? This would see farming, industrial users and citizens having to contend with the ETS and what an uproar! Wouldn't it be more sensible to scrap the whole ETS until its fair to all concerned? Or should we continue to discourage investment in certain sectors?

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"International competitors are taking sufficient action on their emissions in general".

This is the perfectly reasonable pre-requisite to NZ extending its global lead to include farmers in the ETS.

But it is also a perfectly reasonable pre-requisite for other industries (or households) being taxed.

If our pain is to be limited to "doing our share", why are we considering doubling the world's only pain-inducing ETS?

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