Bovine Disruption

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New Zealand is proposing to make farmers pay for the greenhouse gases produced by sheep and cows, becoming the first country to do so, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The government released a draft plan that would help reduce emissions from one of New Zealand’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases and tackle global warming.

The country of five million is home to 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep. Nearly half of its total greenhouse emissions come from agriculture in the form of methane.

Previously, agricultural emissions were exempt from the country’s emissions trading programs, sparking criticism and questions about the government’s commitment to combat global warming.

Under the new plan, farmers will have to pay for their gas emissions starting in 2025. Short- and long-lived agricultural gas will be priced individually, although their volume will be calculated using a single measure.

The draft regulations also include incentives for farmers to reduce emissions through feed additives. Revenue from the scheme will be invested in research, development and advisory services for farmers.

A final decision is expected later this year and the proposal could potentially mark the biggest regulatory disruption to farming since the removal of agricultural subsidies in the 1980s, according to analysts.

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