How Our Climate Fight Threatens Iconic Farmland
As New Zealand puts a growing price on greenhouse emissions, investors are rushing to buy up pastures and plant carbon-sucking trees, Serena Solomon reports for a story published in The New York Times.
So-called carbon farming has become a key element of New Zealand’s drive to be carbon neutral by 2050. Under a market-based emissions trading programme, Solomon writes, companies in carbon-intensive industries must buy credits to offset their emissions. Many of those credits are purchased from forest owners, and as the credits’ price has soared, forestry investors have sought to cash in by buying up ranches.
The emissions trading programme is New Zealand’s most powerful tool to reduce greenhouse gases. But the loss of ranch land to carbon farming could threaten one of its most iconic industries and change the face of idyllic rural areas.
“We’re talking about a land-use transformation beyond anything that we have seen probably in the last 100 years,” said Keith Woodford, an honorary professor of agriculture and food systems at Lincoln University who is also an industry consultant.
Original article by Serena Solomon, The New York Times, August 11, 2022.
Photo by Eric Schroen.