With the final He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) proposal on farm emissions expected to be presented to the Government in early June, the farming sector is at a "critical crossroads".
Last week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw released a discussion paper aimed at helping shape NZ's emissions reduction plan. BLNZ says the paper contains a slight shift in how the Government is talking about the role of carbon-only exotic forestry in addressing climate change.
"We welcome the Government's recognition that fossil fuel emissions must be reduced, rather than continually offset," says chief executive Sam McIvor.
"The discussion document indicates any decision on changing the ETS rules would come by the end of 2022. We're concerned that's not fast enough given the scale and pace of land conversion happening."
McIvor says urgent action is needed to adjust the ETS and limit the amount of carbon forestry offsets available to fossil fuel emitters. NZ is the only country with a regulatory ETS that currently allows 100% carbon forestry offsetting. "We are absolutely not anti-forestry - we're concerned about carbon-only forestry. There is a better solution, where much of New Zealand's required budgets for sequestration from forestry could come from the integration of trees on sheep and beef farms, rather than through conversion of whole farms for carbon forestry."