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

 

Half Full: Dairy Payouts Steady, Cash Will Be Tight

Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on strong cashflow management as they look ahead to the 2015-16 season following Fonterra's half-year results announcement today. More>>

ALSO:

First Union: Cotton On Plans To Use “Tea Break” Law

“The Prime Minister reassured New Zealanders that ‘post the passing of this law, will you all of a sudden find thousands of workers who are denied having a tea break? The answer is absolutely not’... Cotton On is proposing to remove tea and meal breaks for workers in its safety sensitive distribution centre. How long before other major chains try and follow suit?” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ-Korea FTA Signed Amid Spying, Lost Sovereignty Claims

A long-awaited free trade agreement between New Zealand and South Korea has been signed in Seoul by Prime Minister John Key and the Korean president, Park Geun-hye. More>>

ALSO:

PM Visit: NZ And Viet Nam Agree Ambitious Trade Target

New Zealand and Viet Nam have agreed an ambitious target of doubling two-way goods and service trade to around $2.2 billion by 2020, Prime Minister John Key has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Economy Grows 0.8% In Fourth Quarter

The New Zealand economy expanded in the fourth quarter as tourists drove growth in retailing and accommodation, and property sales increased demand for real estate services. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ’s Wheeler Keeps OCR On Hold, No Rate Hikes Ahead

The Reserve Bank has removed the prospect of future interest rate hikes from its forecast horizon as a strong kiwi dollar and cheap oil hold down inflation, and the central bank ponders whether to lower its assessment of where “neutral” interest rates should be. The kiwi dollar gained. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news