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Price on carbon could be positive for the economy

24 June 2008

Price on carbon could be positive for the economy: Greens

Farmers would profit from involvement in the Emissions Trading Scheme, reinforcing the Green Party's insistence that farming be included in the Bill earlier than 2013, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"If the use of nitrogen inhibitors can increase a dairy farmer's profit by 18 percent a year as well as add 1728 jobs, why is the government so reluctant to take this free, low hanging fruit? Can't we start agriculture now with what is not only easy, but free, and delay action on methane as planned?

"In addition to nitrogen inhibitors there are several other technologies that would reduce nitrous oxide emissions - they have plenty of options."

Ms Fitzsimons welcomes the New Zealand Council for Sustainable Development report, released this afternoon, as it demonstrates the financial benefits of a price on carbon.

The report gives figures suggesting that passing the emissions trading bill this year could result in immediate and long term investment value at $12.3 billion between 2008 and 2018, with some $913 million of this available immediately, Ms Fitzsimons says.

"In particular, it shows the failings of other reports, such as from NZIER, which assume no-one takes advantage of new business opportunities and the economy does not change"

"However, we should pass any old sort of ETS. The current scheme is unfair and not very effective."

The Green Party is currently in negotiations with the Government to ensure the ETS is effective for the environment, is fair to New Zealand businesses and affordable for New Zealand families.

This report shows the weakness in the reports produced by the biggest polluters, namely that they have ignored the massive economic opportunities an ETS creates, Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Twelve billion dollars in immediate and long term investment over the next ten years is nothing to sneeze at. This is precisely the investment in a low carbon economy we need to adapt to peak oil and climate change.

"New Zealand's clean green image has already been shown this week to be very fragile internationally. A robust ETS that does not shy away from New Zealand's key emissions challenges - transport and agriculture - would cement our position as a serious player in international negotiations.

"We've been talking about taking action on climate change for over 10 years now. There is an opportunity for Government to capture this new investment if it makes some changes to its scheme. The time for talking is over. The time for action is now."


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