Hard-hitting ETS report kicks off Rainbow Warrior tour
Auckland Tuesday March 4 - Greenpeace has used a hard-hitting report into the Government's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to launch a six-week, nation-wide ship tour aboard the iconic Rainbow Warrior.
The tour will take in the ports of Auckland, Gisbourne, Lyttelton, Dunedin and Wellington and will focus on climate change and in particular the need for an overall emissions reduction target for New Zealand.
"The single most important thing we could do as a country to tackle climate change is set a domestic emissions reduction target (1)," said Greenpeace Campaign Director Carmen Gravatt. "Without one, you cannot say we're taking the problem seriously."
Greenpeace is hosting media on the ship this morning, where they can meet with campaigners and crew. Copies of the report will also be available.
The report - New Zealand's Expanding Carbon Footprint - Analysis of New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme; major flaws and barriers to emission cuts (2)- is the first comprehensive report into the ETS released by an environmental NGO, and the first to focus on the exclusion of agriculture from the scheme until 2013.
It is co-authored by Dr. Hugh Saddler and Dr. Richard Denniss (3), and concludes an overall target is needed if New Zealand is to achieve any significant greenhouse gas emission reductions. As it stands the scheme will fail to produce any substantial reductions.
"The current proposal for the structure of the ETS will deliver no significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, will act as an impediment to the rapid implementation of less carbon intensive production technologies in the manufacturing industry and will do nothing to slow the destruction of forests to make way for increasingly greenhouse gas intensive forms of dairy farming," said Dr Denniss.
"If the objective of the Government's scheme is emission reductions then they will need to make significant changes to it. With these changes, the ETS could be a very valuable and effective way of addressing climate change. Without them, the New Zealand government's goal to be the 'world's first truly sustainable nation' will not be achieved."
As well as the lack of an overall target, the report highlights the exemption of agriculture until 2013 as a major barrier to emission cuts.
"Agriculture makes up almost half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, most of which come from dairy (4), yet it's exempted from the scheme for another five years," said Ms Gravatt. "And while we wait for the dairying sector to take responsibility, it's taxpayers who must pay the cost (5).
"This report is a wake up call for the government. It has been so busy patting itself on the back for introducing an ETS that it seems to have forgotten that the point of any such scheme is emission reductions. Urgent changes must be made to the scheme to ensure it's not just smoke and mirrors. Emissions trading schemes can be powerful tools in the fight against climate change, but they must be designed right."
The Rainbow Warrior tour will also involve the public in the fight against climate change. "Climate change is far from solved in New Zealand, so we're getting out there to talk to Kiwis about the problem, and show them how they can be part of the solution," said Ms Gravatt.
"We'll be encouraging New Zealanders, either as individuals or communities, to adopt emission reduction targets in their own lives."
(see www.greenpeace.org.nz/rainbow-warrior for full tour details).
The full report can be found at: www.greenpeace.org.nz/ets-report
reduction targets in themselves don't stop climate change.
They do however set the scene for what needs to be achieved,
and give a clear signal to policy makers that they should
formulate policies capable of achieving the target set. The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified a
range of 25-40% reductions by 2020 for developed countries
like New Zealand as necessary in order to put the world on
track to avoid climate catastrophe. Greenpeace is calling
for the New Zealand Government and all political parties to
set an emissions reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020.
Countries that are serious about taking a leadership
position on climate change have set national targets. The UK
has set a target of 20% by 2010 – this is above and beyond
its Kyoto commitment. It is expected to achieve a reduction
of almost 17% as a result. Germany has a domestic target of
40% reductions from 1990 levels by 2020, which it's on track
to meet. Even Australia, a former
laggard when it comes to climate, now has a long term overall emission reduction target. Sweden recently agreed on an emission reduction range of 75-90% by 2050. The National Party has set a policy of 50 per cent emission reductions by 2050. This is not nearly enough. By 2050 we need to have reduced our emissions by a minimum of 80 per cent.
3. Dr Hugh Saddler has been involved in the development of national energy policy in the UK and Australia, including the development of emissions trading schemes. Dr Richard Denniss is Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University.
4. The dairy industry is responsible for the entire increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector since 1990. Indeed, had dairy related emissions remained constant at their 1990 level, New Zealand's agriculture sector emissions would have actually fallen, because of the decrease in sheep industry emissions and the negligible increase in emissions from beef and other agricultural activities.
5. The New Zealand Government will be liable for purchasing emission credits from other countries if New Zealand's Kyoto targets are not met. The cost of this is likely to run into the billions. This is effectively a gift from taxpayers to polluters (in this case mainly to the dairy industry).