Changes to the world climate resulting from greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity pose an acute threat to civilisation. Under the Paris Agreement, New Zealand is committed to playing its part in reducing emissions so that global temperatures do not increase by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Domestically, the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 requires New Zealand agriculture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In October 2019, government agreed to work with the primary sector (including DINZ) and Māori to equip farmers and growers with the knowledge and tools they need to reduce emissions, while continuing to sustainably produce quality food and fibre products for domestic and international markets.
This work involves designing a practical and cost-effective system for reducing emissions at the farm level by 2025. It also includes designing an appropriate farm-level pricing mechanism. More detail of this work can be found at hewakaekenoa.nz
2021 Study key findings
- On-farm emissions could be reduced by 0.07% to 0.42% through changing stocking policies or 3.73 to 8.51% by changing land use and decreasing stock numbers.
- An on-farm levy impacted profitability from +13% to -14% (where one farm received income from sequestration).
- A processor levy impacted profitability from +15% to -15% (where one farm received a benefit back to them for sequestration).
- The NZETS processor-level levy impacted profitability from -0.4% to -17% based on 2025 carbon pricing and a 95% free allocation of farm emission credits.
- The GHG calculators assessed in the study varied significantly in their complexity and in their calculations of GHG emissions and sequestration. Some calculators are considerably more complex to use than others and require more time and data input. The emissions calculated ranged from 8.6% difference between tools for one case study, to 27% difference for another. There was also a large range in their calculations of sequestration.