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Q. Who does the Emissions Trading Scheme apply to?
A. Every sector and every greenhouse gas in New Zealand, everyone in New Zealand who uses electricity, fuel for a car will notice increased costs.

Q. When did New Zealand sign up to the Kyoto Protocol?
A. 19th of December 2002.

Q. Why does Kyoto not account for the CO2 absorbed by pasture?
A. It does, see Info Sheet number 1 ” Greenhouse Gases &Live Stock” for more information.

Q. I haven’t increased my stock numbers since 1990, in fact they have dropped, I don’t need to worry, do I?
A. All farms will enter the ETS from 2015 with a 90% subsidy.  This subsidy drops by 1.3% per annum.  So thinking about it now would be a good idea. Acting early where economically possible is even better.

Q. I own a forest which was planted in the early nineties on marginal farm land, will I get penalised if I cut it down?
A. No. There are no Kyoto liabilities for forests established after 1990, if you don’t enter the Emissions Trading Scheme and claim carbon credits (NZU’s).

Q. Do I have to claim carbon credits for my forest under the Emissions Trading Scheme?
A. No, participation under the Emissions Trading Scheme is voluntary for forests established on non-forest land after 1990.

Q. What are the drivers for this Emissions Trading Scheme/Kyoto business?
A. We do not know of any conspiracy theories; the driver is that humans are contributing to unnaturally high concentrations of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere leading to global warming and climate change.

Q. What is the value of a carbon credit/NZU?
A. Recent trading (November 2010) is around $20 per NZU (carbon credit).

Q. What is a carbon credit?
A. It is a common unit based on one tonne of carbon dioxide, called an NZU under the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme.

Q. So what does one tonne of carbon dioxide look like?
A. If you take a typical pine tree trunk, half of it is carbon (cellulose, lignin etc). Let’s assume that the tree trunk is 2 cubic metres, therefore 1 cubic meter is carbon. It took 3.67 tonnes of carbon dioxide to make that one tonne of carbon.

Q. Why has the government chosen 1990 as a date for forests?
A. This is the internationally negotiated date for Kyoto benchmarking our emission reduction efforts.

Q. When did Kyoto start?
A. 1 January 2008.

Q. Where will the credits come from?
A. It is hoped that forest owners will participate in the Emissions Trading Scheme and have them available for sale to those industries that need them. The other source will be the international Kyoto market.

Q. What follows after Kyoto, and when?
A. This is currently being negotiated by international governments, but will likely be a continuation of Kyoto-like policies.

If you have a specific question you would like to ask please contact us.

MAF have their own questions and answers around the Emissions Trading Scheme:

  • Click here for MAF Q&A on agriculture and the ETS
  • Click here for MAF Q&A on forestry and the ETS