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Climate Change Emissions Trading Bill

NEWS RELEASE
4 December 2007
(1 page)

Climate Change Emissions Trading Bill

The Greenhouse Policy Coalition says many of the risks to the New Zealand economy identified in the Castalia Report (Nov 2007) have not been resolved in the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill (the Bill).
Executive Director of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, Catherine Beard, says if the Bill is passed in its current form, New Zealand will be the first country in the world to expose its total economy to an emergent and politically driven market for emissions trading.

“While there are some advantages to being the first to do things there are also considerable risks, and we are not convinced the government has undertaken sufficient economic analysis to properly understand the risks of exposing the economy to a volatile price of carbon”, she said.

Catherine Beard said the main issue with the Bill was that it was setting New Zealand up for an emissions trading scheme that was likely to be a lot tougher than other countries would be prepared to adopt in the future. This would mean that the cost of living and doing business in New Zealand would be higher than in other countries that we compete with for trade and skilled labour, leading to plant closures and job losses.

Issues that were identified in the Castalia report that need to be resolved to maintain New Zealand’s slim competitive advantages internationally include;

- Adopting a more realistic timeframe for transitioning to a lower carbon economy, in keeping with our trading competitors

- Setting emission caps that reflect our emissions profile and limited abatement opportunities

- Introducing a price safety valve to avoid volatility and exposure to high carbon prices that would cause economic damage

- Using intensity based rather than absolute emissions targets for firms – so that NZ firms are judged on world’s best practice benchmarks and can continue to grow as long as they are at world’s best practice.

- Retain a focus on protecting competitiveness and limiting carbon leakage

- Establish a new entrant reserve of free allocation to industry; otherwise New Zealand will fail to get any new investment in our most important income earning sectors.

ENDS

Full copy of the Castalia report is at www.greenhousepolicy.org

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