Government changes agriculture’s place in the Emissions Trading Scheme

20 Dec 2012 |

The Government recently amended the Emissions Trading Scheme to indefinitely postpone the agricultural sector’s liability to surrender carbon credits for emissions. Anderson Lloyd Partner Lesley Brook says agriculture’s participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme had previously been pushed out until 2015 but now there is no deadline hanging over the sector.

“It is only the liability to surrender which has been postponed. The obligation to report emissions remains,” says Brook.

The first reports are due by March 31, 2013 for emissions during 2012. The Government has also recently made some changes to the reporting requirements which are found in Regulations.

Dairy processors have to report total tonnes of milk solids from cows or heifers. No reporting is required for the processing of milk from goats and sheep.

Meat processors have to report total tonnes of animals slaughtered, by animal type. No reporting is required for the slaughter of animals not for human consumption, or for the slaughter of calves and vealers, or for the slaughter of layer hens.

Live animal exporting must also be reported, but no reporting is required for other agricultural activities, for example wool and egg production.

“The changes are largely consistent with the Consultation Document released by the Government in the middle of the year,” Brook says. “One major difference is the exclusion of slaughter of animals other than for human consumption, for example for pet food.”

At the same time, the Government has adjusted the emissions factors. Brook says these adjustments will achieve two things.

“Firstly, the new emissions factors will more accurately account for the emissions of the various sectors. For example, the emission factor for slaughter of sheep now excludes the emissions from sheep farmed for wool and the emissions factor for processing milk now includes all emissions from the cow or heifer.

“At the same time, the new emissions factors will make reporting much easier. The number of animals slaughtered need not be reported. There is only one emissions factor for all cattle slaughtered, one factor for all sheep slaughtered, one factor for all deer slaughtered, and one factor for all milk solids. So the calculations of emissions will be less complicated,” Brook says.

Despite the postponement of liability under the scheme, Brook says it is important that New Zealand accurately measures emissions from all major sources, so that priorities for research can be appropriately allocated with a view to reducing emissions in future.

Ends

Lesley Brook, BA(Hons) LLB, is a partner in Anderson Lloyd Lawyers in Dunedin and specialises in advising commercial clients. She has an interest in the Emissions Trading Scheme and its implications and has spoken widely on the subject.

For more information contact Lesley on (03) 467 7164

A photograph of Lesley Brook is available on request. Please contact Rebecca Kinraid, Convergence Communications, phone 03 365 0081.