New Zealand has emissions reductions targets – supported by the framework in the Zero Carbon Act – including to:
- reduce net emissions of all greenhouse gases (except biogenic methane) to zero by 2050
- reduce emissions of biogenic methane to 24–47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050, including to 10 per cent below 2017 levels by 2030
The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament in early November 2019, it mandates a phase-down of all industrial allocations from 2021 (this is relevant for greenhouse growers who have free allocation in the ETS) and gives effect to decisions to price agricultural livestock emissions at farm level, and from 2025, fertiliser emissions at processor level.
HortNZ is actively participating in He Waka Eke Noa, the joint climate change action plan with the food and fibre sector and iwi or Māori tangata whenua. This plan is to ensure farmers and growers are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to deliver emissions reductions, while continuing to sustainably produce quality food and fibre products for domestic and international markets.
In late October 2019, the Government announced that agriculture – including horticulture – would not go into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2020. What this means for horticulture is that there will be no additional ETS tax on fertiliser.
In return, horticulture and the pastoral sector have undertaken to make progress on climate change mitigation in partnership with the Government. The Government has endorsed the Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment (He Waka Eke Noa). This commitment requires all growers and farmers to know their emissions by 2022. By 2025, all growers must have an audited Farm Environment Plan in place along with a system for farm-level accounting and reporting of agricultural emissions.
The main impact on horticulture will be the need to improve the use of fertiliser. Our industry can achieve this objective through the audited Farm Environment Plans that the Government will require for freshwater quality.
HortNZ, in conjunction with product groups, has made a number of submissions on proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and policy proposals around process heat, which could affect glasshouse growers, including:
- Accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency (MBIE – March 2020)
- New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme: Proposed Settings (MfE – Feb 2020)
- Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill (Environment Committee – Jan 2020)
- New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme: Rules for auctioning (MfE – Dec 2020)
Phasing out fossil fuels in process heat - national direction on industrial greenhouse gas emissions
In May 2021, the Ministry for the Environment consulted on a proposal for new new national direction relating to the use of fossil fuels in process heat this is in response to changes to the RMA made last year which mean that as of 31 December 2021, local authorities will be to consider the effects of GHG emission on climate change in RMA decision-making (where this was previously specifically excluded).
HortNZ made a submission, along with TomatoesNZ, Vegetables NZ and New Zealand Plant Producers Inc.
The recently passed Resource Management Amendment Act 2020 made changes to the ability to consider climate change as part of Resource Management. This aligns with the evolution of broader climate change policy, including the policy goal to transition to net zero carbon emissions by the second half of the 21st Century.
This means that from 31 December 2021:
- the sections of the Resource Management Act which prevented Councils from being able to consider the effects of discharges of greenhouses gases on climate change will be removed and
- councils must have regard to emissions reduction plans and national adaptation plans (prepared under the Climate Change Response Act) when making or amending their regional or district plans.