New Zealand wants to fight the climate crisis by taxing cow burps – but farmers think the plan stinks

New Zealand wants to fight the climate crisis by taxing cow burps – but farmers think the plan stinks

Jacinda Ardern asked how it feels to be 'more popular abroad' by reporter

ABC News

Jacinda Ardern and the New Zealand government has offered up an unusual proposal to tackle methane emissions, by announcing plans for a new levy which effectively tax burps from cows.

The PM said “no other country in the world” is yet to come up with a system for “pricing and reducing agricultural emissions”.

While livestock makes up 14.5 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, we have a feeling you might be the only country to tax cow burps, Jacinda.

She added: “This is an important step forward in New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions future and delivers on our promise to price agriculture emissions from 2025.

“The proposal aims to give New Zealand farmers control over their farming system, providing the ability to reduce costs through revenue raised from the system being recycled back to farmers, which will fund further research, tools and technology and incentives to reduce emissions.

“The proposal would see New Zealand farmers lead the world in reducing emissions, delivering a competitive advantage and enhancing our export brand.”

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The government also said its plans should help the country meet its 2030 target for methane reduction of 10 per cent.

However, the proposals have been met with harsh criticism from the lobby group Federated Farmers, who said they would “rip the guts out of small town New Zealand” and that the emission plan “throws out two and a half years of work” by the industry to find a solution.

Andrew Hoggard, the organisation’s national president and climate change spokesperson, said: “What happened to the ‘historic partnership’?

“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.”

Federated Farmers have also claimed the government’s own modelling shows world agricultural emissions would increase under their new proposals.

Although some Twitter users have also raised their eyebrows at the news, many decided to opt for comments targeting Ms Ardern on a personal level, and we’re not going to share those here.

We rather enjoyed this take, though:

It isn’t the first time that a Labour government in New Zealand has proposed a tax on farm animals for their methane emissions, as a plan by the government in 2003 attracted heavy criticism at the time and was branded a “fart tax” by political opponents – even though most emissions actually come from cows belching.

It was later abandoned.

The proposals by Ms Ardern’s government, however, are currently out for consultation until 18 November.

Whether this will be viewed as a moo-ve (sorry) in the right direction though remains to be seen.

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