Implications of global emission policy scenarios for domestic agriculture: a New Zealand case study

In the post-Paris world of ‘nationally determined contributions’ to mitigation, the prospects for agricultural mitigation policies may rest on whether they are in the national economic interest of large agricultural producers. New Zealand is a major exporter of livestock products; this article uses New Zealand as a case study to consider the policy implications of three global policy scenarios at the global, national and farm levels.

Building on global modelling, a model dairy farm and a model sheep and beef farm are used to estimate the changes in profit when agricultural emissions are priced and mitigated globally or not, and priced domestically or not, in 2020. Related to these scenarios is the metric or GHG exchange rate. Most livestock emissions are non-CO2, with methane being particularly sensitive to the choice of metric.

The results provide evidence that farm profitability is more sensitive to differing international policy scenarios than national economic welfare. The impact of the choice of metric is not as great as the impact of whether other countries mitigate agricultural emissions or not. Livestock farmers do best when agricultural emissions are not priced, as livestock commodity prices rise significantly due to competition for land from forestry. However, efficient farmers may still see a rise in profitability when agricultural emissions are fully priced worldwide.


Dorner, Zach and Suzi Kerr. 2016. "Implications of global emission policy scenarios for domestic agriculture: a New Zealand case study." Climate Policy Volume 0, Issue 0 p1-12.

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