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Greens Urged To Fight Global Warming With Market


Use Market To Fight Global Warming, Foresters To Urge Greens

The Kyoto Forestry Association (KFA) will tomorrow urge the Green Party to promote sophisticated market-based strategies to implement the crucial Kyoto environmental treaty.

KFA, which represents the interests of forest owners who have risked their capital to plant more than 600,000 hectares of new forestry in New Zealand since 1989, has been invited by the Green Party to its business briefing in Wellington tomorrow. KFA spokesman Roger Dickie has welcomed the Green Party’s initiative to build a better relationship with business and believes common ground can be found, including on Kyoto issues.

“We will urge the Greens to lead the debate within the new Government on using market mechanisms to implement Kyoto, to achieve better environmental outcomes than the old ‘tax-and-subsidise’ approach, while removing all financial risk from the taxpayer,” Mr Dickie said.

“In particular, we are urging the new Government to base Kyoto policy on the principle that those who have reduced emissions or created sinks should earn financial instruments that those who pollute are then required to buy. In this way, there would be a clear incentive to reduce emissions or create sinks, and a clear disincentive to pollute. The Government would be involved only as regulator so that we would get the positive environmental outcomes we all seek, with no risk to the taxpayer.”

Mr Dickie said market approaches such as this were envisaged by world leaders when they negotiated the Kyoto Protocol and are being used or considered in other pro-Kyoto jurisdictions including the EU and Japan.

“Increasingly it is being recognised that market-based approaches can do more to combat global warming than command-and-control approaches,” he said.

Mr Dickie said it was now old news that the last Government’s ‘tax-and-subsidise’ approach to Kyoto, which imposed all the financial risk associated with the Protocol on the long-suffering taxpayer, had gone terribly wrong.

“Current policy has led to a financial and environmental nightmare,” he said. “Big polluters, including SOEs and manufacturers of concrete, plastics, steel and aluminium, are escaping their tax liabilities with so-called Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements, so that the tax side of the ledger is collapsing. Forestry plantings have plunged to zero as a result of our carbon credits being expropriated by the State. New Zealand is now in the position of having to purchase carbon credits from former Soviet republics that have made environmental improvements since 1990 from a disastrous base – but this means New Zealand tax dollars now risk being used to subsidise heavy industry in Chernobyl, Gdansk and Lake Karachay!”

In forestry alone, Mr Dickie said the previous Government’s flawed Kyoto implementation had ripped more than 8,000 jobs and more than $200 million of annual investment from provincial towns and cities throughout New Zealand, decimating the skilled infrastructure of New Zealand’s third largest export earner.

The negative impact on the flawed implementation model has led to the well-reported billion-dollar blow-out at the taxpayer’s expense.

“The Green Party is uniquely placed to take the lead on addressing these issues with a fresh, open mind, and we look forward to sharing our ideas with the party,” Mr Dickie said.

Mr Dickie said KFA strongly supported the Kyoto Protocol. “Global warming is a major threat and is caused predominantly by increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane gas in the atmosphere. Reducing carbon emissions and promoting carbon sinks, including maintaining established forests and promoting new forest plantings, are essential elements in the fight against global warming.”

Along with other forestry interests, the KFA is also involved in a dialogue with government officials on Kyoto issues, established by Forestry Minister Jim Anderton.

END

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