The New Zealand government has dropped the contentious proposal to charge a levy from farmers for methane emitted by their livestock. The plan had been opposed fiercely by the farming community (see: 'Smells like trouble', Down To Earth, August 15, 2003). In New Zealand, methane emissions from ruminants are responsible for 40 per cent of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions.
The government held a meeting with farmer representatives in which it agreed to an industry-funded research to address the issue. Charlie Pedersen, vice-president of the organisation Federated Farmers, said the deal would not cost farmers an extra cent. In an earlier survey, 80 per cent respondents had opposed the tax on the gas released as sheep and cattle belch or break wind.
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