Kyoto Plan Bodes Ill For Growth
The intention for New Zealand to ratify the Kyoto Protocol before our trading competitor countries is cause for serious misgivings, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).
"Our standard of living in New Zealand is dependent to an unusual degree on the emission of greenhouse gases and relatively low cost energy," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.
"The evidence to date indicates ratifying the Protocol will cost anywhere from $250 million (the first Government studies) to $20 billion (from a study by Solid Energy Ltd), with no more accuracy available than that.
"No cost implications of ratifying the Protocol have been put before the New Zealand consumer - ultimately all of us will bear the cost of it in extra costs for energy and in reduced job opportunities as investment here is discouraged compared to our trading partners, and non-Kyoto countries.
"Before going ahead with Government's intention to ratify the Protocol at next year's World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg business needs to see far more analysis on the likely economic impacts and longer term implications.
"Pastoral agriculture and cheap energy are still the main reasons for employment growth in New Zealand, and these are the very areas of our competitive advantage that ratifying the Protocol will penalise.
"Over 55 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from ruminant animals. For most other countries participating in the Protocol agricultural emissions are insignificant. Hence in New Zealand the axe will fall heavily on the rest of the economy.
"New Zealand is responsible for 0.2 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions; the loss of energy dependent industries here to countries not signing the Protocol could only harm our future without any possible benefit to the global environment.