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Delaying the emissions trading scheme

20 May 2008

MEDIA ADVISORY: Delaying the emissions trading scheme

The following academics are available to comment on the emissions trading scheme, and the recent withdrawal of support for the scheme by the National Party.

Professor Martin Manning, inaugural Director of the Climate Change Research Institute
Professor Jonathan Boston, Director of the Institute of Policy Studies
Associate Professor Ralph Chapman, Director of the Environmental Studies Programme

The group says there are several arguments why the legislation should not be deferred:

"First, National’s approach risks delaying the introduction of market incentives for emission reduction by several years. Yet there is strong scientific evidence pointing to the need for urgent global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Further delay by New Zealand and other countries in addressing the problem of human-induced climate change increases the risks of serious, irreversible impacts to key biophysical systems and major threats to people in vulnerable locations.

“Second, delaying the legislation risks another lengthy process of policy analysis, submissions and decision making which will increase business uncertainty and impose additional cost on taxpayers. It may also increase the risk in future of panic measures which could be more costly to the economy than market incentives. Delay does not reduce the cost of complying with the Kyoto Protocol; it simply means the taxpayer bears the cost, rather than emitters who are better placed to reduce emissions.

“Third, delay will damage our international position. Not having an ETS in place until, say, late 2010 will undermine New Zealand’s negotiating position in the current international negotiations on a new global climate change agreement.

“Lastly, if National has specific concerns with the current legislation it is in a position to negotiate over these with the Labour-led government and other parties.”

“To sum up, New Zealand has been prevaricating for over a decade. We are not in danger of being a first mover, because many other countries have already taken action, or have proposals under active consideration. We need to act now, and the ETS is our best bet for moving forward.”


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