Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


The Carbon Challenge: NZ Emissions Trading Scheme

The Carbon
Challenge - New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme by
Geoff Bertram and Simon Terry

BRIDGET WILLIAMS BOOKS PRESS RELEASE

The Carbon Challenge

New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme

Geoff Bertram and Simon Terry

If climate change is the defining issue of our generation, and the emissions trading scheme (ETS) New Zealand’s central response, is it up to the job?


The Carbon Challenge provides a plain English guide to this question that cuts through what is kindly termed the ‘opacity’ of the ETS, while also delivering the detail for those that need to understand why it seems destined for fundamental reform.

That the ETS manages to achieve remarkably little in the way of emission reductions (they keep growing), is an immediate signal that all is not well. Part of the reason for this is a very unfair allocation of the costs arising from New Zealand failing to meet its emissions target under the Kyoto Protocol.

Households bear half the total costs resulting from the ETS during its first five years, when they account for just 19% of all emissions. At the other end of the scale, the 50% of emissions accounted for by pastoral farming are exempted until 2015, and the subsidies to major industrials are so extensive that there is next to no carbon price being felt, so there is no real incentive to cut their 20% of national emissions.

The most profound problem with the ETS is that it fails to collect more than a sliver of what is required to pay the liability that New Zealand’s excess emission are racking up. After all the delayed start dates, exemptions, rebates and compensation payments are totted up, the Government would receive just 12 million emission units net under the new ETS, with each unit accounting for a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. When compared to the Kyoto liability of 69 million units, or $2 billion at a carbon price of $30/tonne, the ETS will reduce this by only a sixth during the Kyoto period from 2008 to 2012.

Over 80% of the Kyoto liability will be transferred to future taxpayers. Today’s polluters will pay nothing like today’s emissions bill.

The paradox is that New Zealand is unusually gifted with means to reduce its carbon footprint. Its wealth of renewable energy options is well recognised. Yet the bulk of the opportunities lie with changed land management – agricultural efficiency measures that cut emissions and the planting of permanent forests to newly store carbon.

Achieving a sustainable mechanism for recognizing the cost of emissions will involve more than just raising the level of ETS charges. Reform capable of adequately responding to emerging international pressures such as carbon border taxes and retail gatekeeper standards would involve a fundamental rethink of how to price carbon.

The crucial policy issue is who pays for the transition to a low-carbon economy, and how. Transferring the costs to a future generation is an inadequate response. Charting an equitable and effective path through the transition is the essence of the carbon challenge New Zealanders face.

Further information is provided by Simon Terry in the attached press release from the Sustainability Council.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

ICT Innovation: Six NZ Finalists In World Summit Awards

The awards are a global showcase of 40 projects, across eight categories, with a special emphasis on those which show the benefits of information and communication technology for the development of communities. New Zealand has finalists in six of the eight categories. More>>

ALSO:

Final Frontier: Rocket Lab And NASA Sign Commercial Space Launch Agreement

Rocket Lab has signed a Commercial Space Launch Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The agreement enables Rocket Lab to use NASA resources - including personnel, facilities and equipment - for launch and reentry efforts. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Wheeler Downplays Scope For ‘Large’ Rates Fall

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler says some market commentators are predicting further declines in interest rates that would only make sense for an economy in recession, although some easing is likely to be needed to maintain New Zealand’s economic growth. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha Dam: Consent Conditions Could Mean Reduced Intensity

Legal advice sought by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on the Ruataniwha Dam consent conditions has confirmed that farmers who sign up to take water from the dam could be required to reduce the intensity of their farming operation to meet the catchment’s strict nitrogen limit. More>>

Health And Safety: Bill Now Sees Rules Relaxed For Small Businesses

Health and safety law reform sparked by the Pike River coalmine disaster has been reported back from the industrial relations select committee with weakened requirements on small businesses to appoint health and safety representatives and committees. More>>

ALSO:

Bearing Fruit: Annual Fruit Exports Hit $2 Billion For First Time

The value of fruit exported rose 20 percent (up $330 million) for the June 2015 year when compared with the year ended June 2014. Both higher prices and a greater quantity of exports (up 9.0 percent) contributed to the overall rise. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news