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Emissions Trading System needs strengthening to be effective

Wellington – 2 July 2012

Emissions Trading System needs strengthening to be effective

The Government’s further weakening of New Zealand Emissions Trading System are a major disappointment and will further undermine the effectiveness of the control of climate and ocean damaging pollution, the Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO) says.

Emissions will continue to climb, but the scientists are urgently telling us we must reduce emissions fast says ECO co-chair, Cath Wallace. “This is not going to help New Zealand meet greenhouse pollution reduction targets needed by 2020 or the 90 percent cut required by 2050.”

“The changes allow 65 large companies further long periods of subsidisation by taxpayers, particularly by households, right out to 2050, with farmers and the fishing quota holders continuing getting especially large subsidies.”

Cath Wallace said the Government was passing on both cost burdens and difficult politics to future generations. “It further indicates that the Government has not got a strategy to meet its own commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050.”

“This decision is announced at the same time as the science of critical and irreversible damage to the climate and the oceans is getting much more certain and that action is desperately needed.”

“Failing to make a decision on farming further delays incentives farmers need to regear and reduce emissions. It is important for economic efficiency and fairness that farms make to start paying the costs of nitrous oxide and methane emissions which make up nearly 50 percent of New Zealand’s emissions.”

“Struggling households and small businesses will have either to pay for these subsidies in their taxes or to forego public services like health care and education. This Government’s announcements will further increase in taxpayer subsidy to polluters in addition to at least $400million.”

“The continuing industry subsidies will have trade implications too because they mean New Zealand will no longer be able to claim that farming are not subsidised. These subsidies are set to continue right out to 2050 and they are massive: about $1 billion.”

“Not only do these subsidies lead to inefficiency and unfairness, they will also send wrong price signals to investors which will result in a deadweight loss to society as well as harming the climate.”

“New Zealand’s international standing, especially in Europe and the Pacific, will be seriously damaged by the failure to take a strong stand to reduce emissions and by this further back tracking and subsidization.”

ends

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