Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted - for now

Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, agriculture is scheduled to enter the ETS next year at the processor level, with 95% of emissions subsidised. National will reverse this, disband he waka eka noa, and ensure an effective hundred percent subsidy for our worst polluters forever.

...or at least until there's a change of government. Because agriculture is our biggest source of emissions, the next government will have to have a policy to reduce them. And by abandoning the compromise on agricultural emissions pricing, National has effectively given the next government carte blanche to do the same. Meaning they can do what we need to do, immediately price emissions at the processor level, and finally make farmers pay. And in doing so, they won't have to be bound by the policy National just threw in the bin - meaning we can eliminate subsidies and make them pay the full cost of their pollution, just like the rest of us do. Which would be both effective and fair. And if it causes dirty farmers to go out of business, well, that is the purpose of emissions pricing.

So, farmers have got what they wanted for now. But it won't last, and there's good reason to think they'll be worse off in the future as a result. So maybe farmers should have been careful what they wished for?