What are the Commission's recommendations for biogenic methane?
The Commission is recommending a 12.5% reduction in biogenic methane by 2030 , relative to 2017. This is comprised of:
- 7% reduction in agricultural biogenic methane by 2030, relative to 2017
- 29% reduction in biogenic methane from waste by 2030, relative to 2017.
Note: The Commission has recommended that the legislated Zero Carbon Act 2019 targets (10% reduction by 2030) are not changed.
What has changed?
The Commission has reduced the biogenic methane target for agriculture from 13.2% by 2030 to 10.7% by 2030, relative to 2017 levels.
Does this advice impact dairy farmers now?
No – but you need to start preparing yourself for change. You can learn more about how to start preparing in the Step Change section of this website.
The Commission’s advice is not legislation. The advice will be used to inform policy and legislation changes by Government. Government will present an emissions reduction plan, informed by this advice, on 15 December 2021.
The Commission will rely on the Government-Industry-Maori partnership, He Waka Eke Noa, to price emissions from 2025. This focuses on developing a pricing mechanism for livestock and fertilizer emissions specifically. We will update you with further detail in November this year.
What are the Commission’s recommendations to Government for Agriculture?
- Must provide support to ensure that He Waka Eke Noa will succeed.
- Draw on the work of He Waka Eke Noa, to decide in 2022 on a pricing mechanism for agricultural emissions as is required by legislation
- Support farmers and growers to identify and implement changes on farm to reduce emissions by collaborating with industry to further develop and fund effective advisory services
- Resource and prioritize rural digital connectivity
- Remove barriers to the deployment of new technologies to reduce emissions on farm by ensuring relevant regulatory regimes
- Facilitating domestic and international market acceptability of proven low emissions food and fibre products, by working with the sector to demonstrate their environmental credentials to international customers
- Investing to create options for emissions reductions in future by:
- Developing a long-term plan for targeted research and development of technologies and practices to reduce biogenic emissions from agriculture
- Investing in a nationwide land and climate information and decision-making tools
- Supporting deployment of systems and infrastructure for alternative lower emissions farming systems and products
What influence did DairyNZ have on the final advice?
We successfully advocated to bring the carbon budgets for biogenic methane back in line with the Zero Carbon Act. The target for biogenic methane for agriculture has changed from 13.2% relative to 2017 levels to 10.7% relative to 2017 levels. DairyNZ strongly believes that farmers require certainty to make meaningful change.
DairyNZ provided farm-systems expertise, which highlighted that the currently available farm-management changes cannot be applied simultaneously on all farms. While the Commission has not introduced farm-scale modelling as recommended by DairyNZ, they have caveated their work by stating: “that no one approach, or option would work for all farmers, nor should all farmers be expected to achieve the same level of emissions reductions”.
The report states: “Reduce average emission per ha by 13% for dairy and 4% for sheep and beef by 2035 relative to 2019.” Does dairy have to reduce more emissions than sheep and beef?
This statement is with regard to what emission reductions can be achieved with farm management practice. This does not indicate the level of reduction required by each sector.
The Commission believes that current on-farm management options can reduce emissions for sheep and beef farms by 4% by 2035, while it believes current options can reduce dairy emissions by 13% by 2035.
Through further analysis, the Commission has determined that sheep and beef farms have less opportunity to reduce emissions through farm management changes than dairy farms.
This number does not include emissions reductions from land use change or from changes in stock numbers.
- The Commission’s advice recommends 300,000 ha of new native forests from 2021 to 2035, and 25,000 ha of new exotics per year to 2030. This land use change will likely come from sheep and beef farms.
- The Commission’s advice models a 13% reduction in stock numbers for sheep and beef sector and a 13% reduction in stock numbers in the dairy sector by 2030 relative to 2019 levels.
The report says there will be a 13% reduction in the dairy herd by 2030. Do I have to reduce my stock?
The entire herd is modelled to reduce by 13% by 2030. Some farms will change land use due to environmental and legislative pressures. Some farms will find it more profitable to reduce their herd size. Not all farmers will need to change their herd size.
What about the other gases, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide?
The Commission’s advice focuses on reducing all greenhouse gases. All long-lived gases (i.e., Carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide) have to reach net-zero by 2050. The Commission has increased the ambition of the carbon budgets for long-lived gases in its final advice.
For the first three emissions budgets, the Commission is recommending:
- 15% reduction in total long-lived gas emissions by 2025, relative to 2019
- 38% reduction in total long-lived gas emissions by 2030, relative to 2019
- 63% reduction in total long-lived gas emissions by 2035, relative to 2019
The emission budgets for long-lived gases apply to all sectors of the economy. The drivers of these reductions are decarbonization of the energy and transport sector.
What do we think?
We are pleased that the Commission has brought the targets in line with the Zero Carbon Act and farmers now have certainty they need to make long-term investment decisions.
It is now up to the Government to deliver a credible emissions reduction plan for New Zealand – and the investment in tools and support required to achieve it.
We support the Commission’s recommendations to Government for agriculture, including - investment in a targeted long-term research and development plan, prioritization and resourcing for rural digital connectivity, and support to farmers and growers to identify and implement changes.
We think that Government needs to invest in the New Zealand National Inventory to ensure that the actions farmers take on-farm to reduce emissions are reflected at the national level.
We agree for the recommendations for Agriculture which are what we advocated for in our submission. See above: “What did the Commission recommend to Government for Agriculture.”
What does the commission recommend I do to reduce emissions?
They have acknowledged that no one approach, or option would work for all farmers, nor should all farmers be expected to achieve the same level of emissions reductions.
- adjust stocking rates and feed,
- low-Nitrogen feed, reductions in application of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser,
- Once a day milking,
- Further integration of the dairy and beef industry,
- creating a diversified landscape,
- Regenerative agriculture, and
- organic agriculture
For more information please see pages 8-14 of Chapter 4 of the Climate Change Commissions Evidence.
What are the key transitions the Commission recommends for the whole economy?
What recommendations have the commission said about transport?
The Commission has increased the ambition of targets for the transport sector.
The transport 2050 targets would see New Zealand completely decarbonising the transport system with early actions over the next 15 years.
The commission recommends that imports of new and used light vehicles – cars, SUVs, vans and Utes – are phased out by 2032 and 2035. By 2030, 43% of medium trucks and 18% of heavy truck would be electric. By 2035, this would increase to 95% and 73% repressively.
The average household travel distance per person can be reduced by around 3% by 2030, and the distance travelled by walking, cycling and public transport can be increased from 6% nationally in 2019, to 11% by 2030 and 14% by 2035.
What recommendations have the commission said about land-use change to forestry (both exotic and native)?
The Commission has recommended that the Government manage forests to provide a long-term sink focusing on exotic in short term and increasing native forestry.
Native forests are increased from 2021 with establishment of up to 25,000 hectares of new forest per year after 2035. For exotic forests it is recommended there is an increase of 25,000 hectares of new forest every year from 2021 until 20305 before being decreased.
What effect will these recommendations have on the economy?
The Commission has assessed that in 2050, the level of GDP could be around 1.2% lower than if we continued with the policies we have today. Investment in low emissions technologies and processes now will open up new markets and reduce the risk of losing others. Delaying key action including the move to EVs and more efficient farm practices could result in GDP in 2050 being up to 2.3% lower.
Will early adopters be penalised for already having reduced stocking rate and/or GHGs over the past few years?
He Waka Eke Noa is building a pricing mechanism for agricultural emission that will delivered to the Government by March 2022 for consideration. This mechanism will form part of a wider reporting and accounting system that will aim to recognise farmers that are already reducing on-farm emissions.
Will farmers be rewarded for carbon sequestration on-farm?
This is being looked at through He Waka Eke Noa.
By March 2022, He Waka Eke Noa will put forward recommendations to Government on farm-level pricing and a mechanism to recognise on-farm sequestration.
He Waka Eke Noa is looking at ways to design a simple and cost-effective programme to understand and recognise on-farm sequestration (that is, the long- term storage of carbon for example in trees or soil) that currently does not meet the definition of a forest in the ETS.
If you are interested in the sequestration of carbon you have on your farm, check out more information at Ag Matters – Primary production in a changing environment.