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Dairy Industry under New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme: Analysis of Farmers' Attitudes towards Climate Change: The Expense Created by the NZETS and the Point that Farmers will Begin to Reduce Emissions

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posted on 2023-03-14, 23:26 authored by Fowles, Craig

Adaptation to actual climate change and contingency planning to reduce vulnerability from likely climate change effects is crucial for the New Zealand dairy industry. Thus in alignment with international treaties and growing international pressure and speculation, the New Zealand Government in October 2007 announced an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) adaptable specifically to the New Zealand scene. This ETS passed into law in September 2008 through the enactment of the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading) Amendment Act 2008. This thesis specifically looks at agriculture related emissions and calculates the liability faced by the dairy industry come 2013 when the industry is completely involved in the ETS. The purpose of this is to further aid the industry so that it can best align itself with the ETS in order to minimise this liability. This is not simply an aid to help the industry save money, as the minimisation of liability should come as a benefit to the environment through reduced emissions. There is also a second issue associated with this - as to whether the liability faced by the industry will be material enough in order for the farmers to actually mitigate their environmental impacts or will they simply bear the expense and ignore the opportunities to reduce their emissions against a baseline (and potentially generate carbon credits for sale) and/or offset any residual emissions through purchasing carbon credits? This therefore analysed the threshold of farmer's incomes whereby they will choose to abate their emissions rather than simply paying for their carbon emissions liability. This threshold obviously varied greatly through the dairying industry with differing factors - this was taken into account and discussed in detail. Other aspects influence this threshold also, factors such as the opportunity for the industry to market a niche product if they do achieve a low carbon or carbon neutral status for their products, cost competitiveness of available abatement technologies, geographical issues pertaining to each abatement method and so on. In order to gain an insight into farmers' perceptions 23 Taranaki dairy farmers were interviewed. This 23 was selected randomly from a list of farmers who reside in the geographical area of Taranaki. This randomisation allowed for an analysis of a variety of size of farmers which eliminated a bias of perceptions from dominating farming sizes within this region. Utilising the theoretical framework surrounding stabilisation triangles, riparian management and nitrification inhibitors were the basis of this examination for emissions reduction management due to their major co-benefit of improved water quality alongside the ultimate goal of emissions reductions. The extent of potential mitigation through the implementation of riparian management and nitrification inhibitors equates to two of the wedges required for the overall reduction in emissions under the ETS. Also, as explained earlier, the co-benefit of improved water quality associated with riparian management and nitrification inhibitors make their implementation even more attractive. The theory behind riparian management and nitrification inhibitors has mostly been done, therefore for the purpose of this thesis, farmers' perceptions of the abatement options were examined. These perceptions included the associated opportunities as well as the challenges that will be faced by those participating farmers.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Weaver, Sean