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ETS revamp: averaging accounting for forests

Changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will see 89 million more trees planted in the coming years and an extra 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide stored in New Zealand’s forests.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Climate Change Minister James Shaw have announced a second set of changes to the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) as part of broader reforms to make the scheme fit-for-purpose.

“The announcement includes the introduction of averaging accounting for all forests registered from January 1, 2021, and the option to use the new accounting method for all forests registered in 2019 and 2020,” Shane Jones said.

“By taking a long-term view of the amount of carbon in a production forest, averaging means forest owners will be able to trade more carbon (NZUs) at lower risk, and not have to worry about finding units to repay when they harvest.

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The changes were developed by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Uru Rākau and Ministry for the Environment following consultations in 2018.

They complement other changes announced in December 2018, and others still to come in May, particularly around how to incentivise the storage of carbon in long-lived wood products. The Government plans to introduce these changes to Parliament later this year as a suite of changes to the Climate Change Response Act.