By James Murphy
In the ongoing quest to foist inane policies meant to cut greenhouse gas emissions that climate hysterics claim is putting the existence of life on Earth in jeopardy, the down-under nation of New Zealand announced its plan to begin taxing methane emissions from livestock. The nation’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, lauded the plan as the first of its kind in the world.
The Ardern government expects to gain cabinet approval for the plan — known as the He Waka Eke Noa proposal — by next year, with the goal of beginning to tax cow and sheep flatulence in 2025.
“No other country in the world has yet developed a system for pricing and reducing agricultural emissions, so our farmers are set to benefit from being first movers,” Ardern said on Tuesday.
“The key to us is that what we do is workable, it’s pragmatic, it can be introduced in a timely way and will actually bring down our emissions,” the prime minister explained.
“Cutting emissions will help New Zealand farmers to not only be the best in the world but the best for the world,” she glibly added.
Ardern admitted in an Instagram post that the government doesn’t quite know how to assess the new tax yet: “Because no one else in the world has done this, there are details that still need to be worked through….”
According to the New Zealand government, methane and nitrous oxide accounted for more than half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Supposedly, close to 90 percent of those methane emissions came from livestock such as cows and sheep.
Overall, New Zealand has committed to a 10-percent reduction in methane emissions from agriculture and landfills by 2030, going up to a reduction of 24-47 percent by 2050 (all compared to 2017 levels). The country is aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050.
As one of the nation’s largest industries, agriculture accounts for approximately five percent of New Zealand’s economy as a whole. Dairy and meat are among the industry’s largest exports.
And many of those farmers are hopping mad about the proposed tax.
Federated Farmers, a New Zealand agriculture advocacy organization, came out with strong opposition to the scheme.
“Federated Farmers is deeply unimpressed with the government’s take on the He Waka Eke Noa proposal and is concerned for our members’ futures,” said the organization’s president, Andrew Hoggard. “We didn’t sign up for this. It’s gut-wrenching to think we now have this proposal from government which rips the heart out of the work we did. Out of the families who farm this land.”
“Our plan was to keep farmers farming. Now they’ll be selling up so fast you won’t even hear the dogs barking on the back of the [utility vehicle] as they drive off,” Hoggard said. “Some overseas buyer can plant trees and take the carbon cash.”
Government officials disagreed with Hoggard’s assessment.
“As farmers and as food producers, show the world how we can reduce our carbon footprint and feed the world in the ways we can expect,” said New Zealand Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
But Hoggard argues that the scheme will not only largely destroy the agriculture industry, but essentially end small-town life in New Zealand.
“The government’s plan means the small towns, like Wairoa, Pahiatua, Taumaranui — pretty much the whole of the East Coast and central North Island and a good chunk of the top of the South — will be surrounded by pine trees quicker than you can say ‘ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) application.’”
In addition, the government’s proposal — by its own modeling — shows that the impact on sheep and beef farming maybe as high as 20 percent and that, even worse, world agricultural emissions would likely increase, not decrease, under this plan.
So, New Zealand’s emissions might look better, but, in the long run, the world’s emissions could look marginally worse.
A consultation for the proposal was launched on Tuesday to give farmers and anyone else until November 18 to comment on it.
This new New Zealand climate scheme is reminiscent of the disastrous government intervention in the Netherlands and Sri Lanka which, in search of a higher “ESG” score, have crippled their agricultural industries with “climate friendly” policies.
When people are forced to eat bugs and weeds in the coming years, policies such as the one Ardern hopes to enact in New Zealand will be largely to blame.