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Time for industry to step up on climate change

Time for industry to step up to the plate on climate change

The Council of Trade Unions is calling on industry to be more
constructive on climate change issues.

"Unions have supported business concerns about the time frame for the
phase out of free allocation of carbon credits. Now the proposed
government changes mean the 90% free allocation will remain in place
until 2018 rather than 2013 and the phase out would be completed in 2030
rather than 2025. In addition there will be five-yearly reviews," CTU
economist Peter Conway said.

"However it is disappointing that some sections of the business
community, in spite of that compromise, are now trying to scuttle the
Bill before Parliament, creating the impression that these firms do not
want to be part of the solution to global warming," Conway said.

Peter Conway said that some of the economic modelling is being used
inappropriately. For instance, NZIER acknowledge that their model still
results in the economy growing between now and 2025 by 42%. Once free
allocation is incorporated into their model, the impact on GDP, jobs and
wages is reduced.

In addition, it is more likely that firms will take action to reduce
emissions if there are costs imposed. If this is incorporated into the
model, then the different impacts of government paying for credits and
industry paying narrows. If other countries take action on emissions the
effect is also reduced.

"The key issue that needs to be incorporated into the models is an
estimated impact on exports from New Zealand if consumers in Europe and
other countries are persuaded that we are not taking serious steps to
reduce per capita emissions. This would be a difficult scenario to model
but it is one of the main economic issues. New Zealand can do little on
its own about climate change, but our exports will be detrimentally
affected if we do less than we should."

"The CTU has consistently argued that there needs to be a broad range of
climate change responses including regulation, mitigation, investment
and education."

"Our focus has been on the risks of leakage and the impact this has on
workers and therefore the design of allocation of credits and assistance
for workers who are disadvantaged; union involvement in education and
other programmes with the business sector to directly reduce emissions
and conserve energy; developing the skills base for sustainable
development; and advocating for those on low incomes impacted by
increased fuel, electricity and other charges as a result of emissions
trading," Peter Conway said.


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