Thursday, August 11, 2022

Hands off on-farm carbon capture, says NP

Neal Wallace
National Party agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says she is disappointed the Climate Change Commission is recommending the removal of carbon sequestration by farm vegetation from He Waka Eke Noa.

The National Party is reserving judgment on He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) but has taken issue with a Climate Change Commission proposal to change the rules of on-farm sequestration.

Barbara Kuriger, the party’s agriculture spokesperson, said she is disappointed the commission is recommending the removal of carbon sequestration by farm vegetation from HWEN, instead proposing to combine it with biodiversity and other environmental outcomes in a whole new system.

“If farmers are going to be charged for their on-farm emissions they should also be rewarded for on-farm sequestration either through He Waka Eke Noa or the Emissions Trading Scheme,” she said.

“The commission should not overcomplicate things. Its first priority must be emissions.”

Scott Simpson, the party’s climate change spokesperson, said the best chance for farmers to manage their emissions is by giving them the widest possible range of solutions.

“The government can make more progress towards emissions targets if it is committed to a principle of rewarding efforts to capture and store carbon,” he said.

He said he supports the intent of He Waka Eke Noa as an industry-wide agreement, calling it “a solution by farmers for farmers”. But he is reserving judgment until he sees its final form and the details of the government’s response.

In the meantime, he is concerned about what he said is a “sword of Damocles” hanging over the sector.

“The government says if there is no agreement between the sector and the government then legislation kicks in and the sector will become part of the ETS,” he said.

Agriculture has a role to play in meeting climate change goals, said Simpson, but the ETS is a blunt instrument – and “as of yet we have not seen the colour of the eyes of the government response to He Waka Eke Noa”.

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