Ensuring that growers can continue to grow while reducing greenhouse gas emissions
HortNZ appeared in front of the Environment Select Committee last week, as part of its work to ensure that growers can continue to grow while reducing their emissions and environmental impact.
HortNZ Manager of Natural Resources and Environment, Michelle Sands says proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) would see the phase out of free allocation without taking into account food security.
‘Free allocation is important to ensure New Zealanders have access to fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year, without relying on imports that may have higher carbon footprints.
‘At the moment, agriculture and glasshouse growers are eligible for free allocation of carbon credits, reducing their exposure to the full costs of offsetting emissions under the ETS.
‘In our submission, we recommended that the phase out of free allocation be variable – as opposed to blanket – across the sectors, so that New Zealand can achieve global emissions reductions and retain food security in the long-term, while easing the social transition in the short term.’
While fruit and vegetables have relatively low greenhouse gas emissions compared to other food sources, glasshouse growers produce greenhouse gas emissions from heating, and all growers produce emissions from the use of fertiliser.
‘Everyone – rural and urban – in New Zealand needs to do their bit to reduce emissions,’ says Michelle.
‘HortNZ supports the He Waka Eke Noa primary sector and government’s approach to achieving emissions goals. Reduction of emissions requires on farm and orchard action. That’s why we support the focus on farm level actions to reduce emissions as the first priority.’