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Generation Zero supports foresters’ demands to fix ETS

Generation Zero supports foresters’ demands to fix ETS

27 September 2012

Youth organisation Generation Zero has endorsed the call from foresters and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment for the Government to limit the use of international carbon units in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Forestry sector leaders yesterday released an open letter to Prime Minister John Key warning that the planned changes to the ETS will be “a farce and a costly and environmentally damaging mistake”, and calling for the Government to follow international best practice and introduce a cap on the number of international units a firm may surrender.

As recently as May the Government was signalling its intention to limit international units, but it has since backed down, despite carbon prices crashing further to new lows of less than $4/tonne.

Paul Young, Generation Zero’s policy coordinator, said:

“National’s ETS has never looked capable of delivering meaningful emissions reductions, but as originally planned it would at least stimulate some tree planting and protect the taxpayer from having to foot the bill for New Zealand exceeding its emissions targets. If these changes go ahead it will not even achieve that.

“Carbon prices have crashed as the market is currently flooded with cheap ‘offset’ units that in all likelihood don’t represent genuine emissions reductions. Australia, China, USA, the European Union, Japan and Korea have all moved to ban or restrict use of these in their carbon markets.

“As the only country not to restrict them, New Zealand will become the dumping ground for these cheap, dodgy units. The domestic carbon price will stay at rock bottom levels and there’ll be virtually no incentive to reduce emissions or plant trees.

“This means that all the ETS is likely to do is have New Zealanders’ money flowing overseas for no benefit to the climate. It will actually be worse than nothing.”

In its submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee last week, Generation Zero called for planned changes to extend the ‘transition phase’ indefinitely to be abandoned and proposed a number of steps to strengthen the ETS and introduce complementary measures.

Generation Zero also supports in full the comments and recommendations made by Permanent Forests International Limited in its press release of 24 September.

“The ETS is our Government’s chosen policy tool to address climate change. There are many changes we’d like to see, but putting a cap on international units is a complete no-brainer,” said Mr Young.

“This is the very least our Government could do to show it is still serious about doing its fair share on climate change and encouraging domestic forest planting. Without it, the ETS will become an international laughing stock.

“If we’re not going to fix it, we might as well ditch it.”

More Information:

The foresters’ open letter to the Prime Minister: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1209/S00364/nz-foresters-demand-changes-to-stop-ets-becoming-a-farce.htm

Generation Zero’s submission on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill: http://generationzero.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Gen-Zero-Submission-on-ETS-Amendment-Bill-2012-Complete.pdf

Permanent Forests International Limited’s press release: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1209/S00304/the-perfect-storm-ets-profitable-for-emitters.htm

Press release on Generation Zero’s submission: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1209/S00249/ets-needs-to-phone-home-select-committee-told.htm

ABOUT GENERATION ZERO:

Generation Zero is an independent youth organisation seeking to catalyse action on climate change in New Zealand. For more information see:

www.generationzero.org.nz
www.facebook.com/GenerationZero

ENDS

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