17 Sep 2009

Foresters say revised ETS scheme will give certainty

4:13 pm on 17 September 2009

Forest owners say the Government's revised Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will give some certainty to the industry and will help stimulate plantings.

However, the Forest Owners Association says it is unhappy with the decision to delay the introduction of the agriculture sector to the ETS until 2015, describing it as a dampener to forestry expansion in the short term.

Chief executive David Rhodes says although it is clear the Government is looking to include all sectors and all gases in the scheme, foresters need to see strong cross-party support for the scheme before they are satisfied.

However, Mr Rhodes says there will be an increase in the number of tree plantings because the industry has been waiting to hear the Government's final decision on the scheme.

Scheme improved - Fed Farmers

The Federated Farmers president has welcomed the two-year delay in the entry of agriculture into the ETS, though still believes the sector should not be in the scheme at all.

The Government says it has delayed the entry of the cattle, sheep, deer and poultry industries to allow more time to find ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

It says it is also concerned about the costs to the sector and the delay recognises the complexities of measuring, monitoring and reporting farm emissions.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson acknowledges that the Government appears to be listening, although the organisation still thinks agriculture should not be part of an emissions trading scheme at all.

He says the Government has finally understood that there is little farming can do to mitigate ruminant emissions.

Mr Nicolson says the proposal to allocate emission units on an intensity rather than absolute basis is also an improvement because it will not penalise increased production. The longer phase-out period will also help farmers, he says.