A new Interim Climate Change Committee was announced this week to assist in the Government's goal to get New Zealand to a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay about why the committee was formed and whether agriculture will be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Shaw admits that the ETS is a "horrendously complex topic," with "lots of different perspectives," and that this was why the Interim Climate Change Committee was set up.

"What we needed to do was get a group of scientists and economists and experts from industry who could sift through it and come to a position that can then inform the Government's decision making next year."


Agricultural emissions make up around half of New Zealand's total greenhouse gas emissions and the Government is still to decide whether agriculture will be included in the ETS, however if it is included, Shaw says there will be a discount.

"If agriculture does come into the Emissions Trading Scheme...it'll be at a 95% discount...we recognise that we need to kind of ease it in extremely gently and very, very slowly."

Also in today's interview: James Shaw talks about his commitment to investing in science to better understand on-farm emissions in a bid to increase food production while reducing greenhouse gas output.

Listen below: