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Labour urges ETS review panel to give scheme teeth

Charles Chauvel
Climate Change Issues Spokesperson

24 December 2010
Media Statement

Labour urges ETS review panel to give scheme teeth

“National's Emissions Trading Scheme needs to be given a set of teeth by the review panel appointed by Nick Smith yesterday, says Labour's Climate Spokesperson Charles Chauvel.

“The Scheme should be scaled up to full obligation immediately. The so-called 50% obligation, where the Government subsidises the price of carbon, is unsustainable, distorts the carbon market, and blunts the price signal intended to be sent by an ETS”, Charles Chauvel says.

“If NZ wants to avoid burning a lot of gas to generate electricity, to achieve a long-term turnaround in deforestation, and bring about changes in consumer behaviour around energy and transport use, we need a stronger ETS. And we need the revenues from the scheme to pay to help bring about these changes, rather than to provide an ongoing and unaffordable subsidy to polluters, as the ETS currently does.

“Agriculture, accounting for nearly 48% of NZ's greenhouse gas emissions, needs to come into the ETS without any further delay, as do refrigerant gases and the waste sector.

“Experts like Julia Hoare and Chris Insley, who advised the special ETS select committee on the design of the scheme, know all this, and it's comforting to see people of their calibre on the review committee. I hope that their views will be given special weight by the panel, which has an over-representation of farming interests, no significant environmental or economic expertise, and is politicised from the outset by the presence of former National Party President Geoff Thompson', Charles Chauvel says.

“It is also premature to ask the panel to consider linkages with any Australian ETS, given the early state of development of proposals there. Instead, the panel should be tasked with examining sectoral linkages with the EU ETS, the Pacific Northwest Scheme in North America, and with a proposed ETS being designed in China, all areas of major opportunity for NZ that have been ignored by Nick Smith and Tim Groser to date.” said Charles Chauvel.

ENDS

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