The Government has just announced “improvements” to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Greenpeace has responded with disbelief at the Government’s failure to include agriculture – the country’s biggest climate polluter – in the “improvements”.
“As long as the country’s biggest polluter is still excluded from the ETS, there is no amount of tinkering with the policy that will make it effective,”says climate campaigner Gen Toop.
Agriculture emits 49% of NZ’s emission and have have risen 12% since 1990.
Toop says, ”an emissions trading scheme without agriculture is a waste of time and will not be able to combat climate breakdown – the greatest threat human civilisation has ever faced.”
In its discussion document on the ETS changes, the Government says it is waiting for the Climate Commission to determine whether and how agriculture enters into the scheme.
But Greenpeace says there is no time to waste.
“New Zealand must urgently and substantially reduce emissions from the agriculture sector. Putting agriculture into the ETS is a no-brainer. We don’t have time to wait for the Climate Commission to get on with it,” says Toop.
The latest report by the world authority on climate change, the IPCC, says we must halve global emissions in the next 12 years in order to avoid heating the planet by more than 1.5 degrees.
The IPCC report predicts the impact on health, livelihoods, security, water supply, food security, and economic growth will worsen if these deep cuts in emissions are not made. It also predicts that poor and marginalised communities will suffer the most, despite being the least responsible for the issue.
“The world faces widespread starvation, human displacement and suffering, and mass extinction of wildlife because of climate breakdown,” says Toop.
“This global disaster is a direct result of governments around the world caving in to the corporates and their lobbyists who are hell-bent on maintaining profits while the world burns.”
“It’s deeply unjust that taxpayers are still subsidising agricultural climate pollution, to the tune of $800 million a year,” she says. “That’s money New Zealand needs to reduce emissions and to prepare our communities for the climate impacts already locked in by past emissions, such as extreme flooding and sea-level rise.”
Greenpeace is unequivocal about what exactly needs to be done.
“If we’ve got any chance at keeping this planet liveable for humanity, then the Government has to take serious action against industrial livestock farming, starting now.”
“Agriculture must be fully brought into the ETS, synthetic nitrogen fertiliser must be banned, cow numbers must be reduced, and there must be a massive Government-led investment in regenerative farming. Anything less consigns future generations to hell on earth,” says Toop.
Gen Toop, Greenpeace NZ campaigner: 021 316 840
Nick Young, Greenpeace NZ head of comms: 021 707 727