New Zealand Announces Plans to Impose Tax on Cow and Sheep Burps to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Methane
New Zealand has announced plans to tax cow and sheep burps to reduce one of the country's major sources of greenhouse gases. Animal stomachs account for more than 80% of New Zealand's methane emissions. Methane is a powerful global warming accelerant, so reducing it helps slow down global warming.
The idea would make the country the first to levy a fee on farmers for the greenhouse emissions emitted by their animals.
There are only 5 million humans in New Zealand, yet there are approximately 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep.
Agricultural emissions account for about half of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions, mostly in the form of methane.
Agricultural emissions were previously exempt from the country's carbon trading plan, drawing criticism of the government's efforts to reduce global warming.
Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide during the first 20 years in the atmosphere, making it a strong tool for slowing warming in the short run.
Animal stomachs and animal manure account for more than 85 per cent of New Zealand's total methane emissions, with the former accounting for 97 per cent of that amount.
The majority of methane generated by cows (95%) is exhaled, with only 5% emitted by flatulence.
Farmers would have to pay for their gas emissions starting in 2025, according to a new draft prepared by government and farming organisations.
The Climate Change Minister, James Shaw, said: "There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that."
Farmers who minimise emissions by using feed additives will be rewarded, and on-farm forests will be used to offset emissions. The scheme's proceeds will be used to fund agricultural research and development and consultancy services.
According to Susan Kilsby, an agricultural economist at ANZ Bank, the idea could be the biggest regulatory disturbance to farming since the withdrawal of agricultural subsidies in the 1980s.
Source: Sky News