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National’s ETS Will Mean Burning More Coal

Charles CHAUVEL
Environment spokesperson

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

National’s ETS will mean burning more coal; failure to reduce emissions: IEA

The International Energy Agency's (IEA) has issued a stinging criticism of the National-led Government's changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Charles Chauvel, Labour's Environment Spokesperson, says that in a study released on Monday, the Paris-based IEA concludes:

- Keeping a fixed carbon price at current levels (NZ$25/tonne) will fail to phase-out the use of carbon-intensive coal in electricity generation by 2021;

- the current design of the ETS means that NZ will probably not meet its domestic targets of a 10-20 per cent emission cut under 1990 levels by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2050.

"A low fixed carbon price, and a failure to cap emissions, are both changes introduced by National in 2009", Charles Chauvel says.

“Currently, New Zealand firms can choose whether to pay NZ$25 for every second tonne of CO2 they emit, or buy permits in the market. And instead of capping emissions, National has changed the scheme to allow polluters to emit on "efficiency criteria", meaning that scheme participants can increase their emissions and still meet targets if their production also increases.

"The IEA has sent a strong signal that National's ETS won't see us reduce greenhouse gas emissions by any significant amount, that we won't continue to build momentum in renewable electricity generation", Charles Chauvel says.

“The IEA said that with recent ambitious policy targets announced by China, India and South Africa, international pressure will mount on NZ to take on tough targets. But the agency urged the government to deploy additional policies to boost clean energy generation, as it was uncertain that the current ETS would be sufficient.

"The Government has a review committee looking at these matters now. When it was set up, Labour urged it to get rid of the low fixed carbon price, and put a cap on pollution sector by sector. The International Energy Agency takes the same view. We need to see real action on greenhouse gas pollution, not the polluters' charter that we have been given by Nick Smith", Charles Chauvel says.

ENDS

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