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Farmers vent anger over ETS costs

Posted in Rural News

Agriculture Minister David Carter yesterday received an earful from Marlborough farmers outraged at agriculture being included in the emissions trading scheme (ETS). The farmers waited for Mr Carter to finish a speech about the scheme at Meadowbank Station in Taylor Pass before unleashing a barrage of questions and statements reports The Marlborough Express. Mr Carter said he did not believe that climate change was "rubbish". Over the past 20 years there were a "hell of a lot" more emissions of greenhouse gases which produced a "human-induced" effect, he said.

Marlborough farmer Warren Taylor said farmers needed to stop arguing about the science and whether the scheme should go ahead and instead try to use it to their advantage. "We can bitch and moan about it whether it's getting warm or not; let's make a buck out of it." Marlborough Federated Farmers president Geoff Evans said the farming sector would not be able to compete in international markets because of a "perpetually" increasing ETS tax while foreign competitors received subsidies.

Mr Evans said many farmers did not want to plant trees because they were a haven for pests, reduced management options, could have an adverse affect on water supplies and were only "marginally" profitable in some areas. Grassmere farmer Doug Avery raised the issue of carbon sequestration (capture) to the soil from pasture species and the need for research to determine how much that may offset on-farm emissions.

Mr Carter said soil carbon may be a "potential, partial solution" to the problem which would be addressed by the Global Research Alliance which formed out of the Copenhagen climate change conference in December last year. The alliance would try to find scientific solutions to producing more food to feed growing populations without increasing emissions from agriculture.

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