If you own a car or a truck, you pay a price on the carbon dioxide emissions from its exhaust pipe. But if you own cows or sheep, the emissions of methane when they belch or nitrous oxide when they urinate are exempt under the emissions trading scheme.
The current review of the ETS, whose results we still await, rules out changing that.
New Zealand is, nonetheless, internationally accountable for all its emissions, including the 49 per cent represented by the two “agricultural” gases.
If the farmers who profit from those emissions do not pay, the rest of us must. It is a subsidy, in a sector that likes to think it was weaned off subsides in the 1980s. NZ Herald