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Phased ETS balances costs with reducing emissions

Hon Dr Nick Smith
National Party
Spokesman for the Environment & Climate Change

9 November 2011

Phased ETS balances costs with reducing emissions

New Zealand needs to carefully balance the cost impacts of the emissions trading scheme on households and businesses in difficult economic times and the goal of transitioning to a low-carbon economy, National’s Environment and Climate Change Spokesman Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith today announced National’s policy to slow the phasing in of the next stage of the ETS.

“The scheme currently steps up on 1 January 2013 to a full obligation for the transport, electricity and industrial sectors. National’s intention is to phase this in three equal steps on 1 January 2013, 1 January 2014 and 1 January 2015 as recommended by the ETS Review Panel,” Dr Smith said.

“This approach slows the cost impacts on households and businesses but continues the progress needed to drive investment in renewable energy, clean technologies and forestry. This timing also enables Transtasman linkages from 2015.

“National’s policy also includes introducing offsetting from 1 January 2013. This will enable pre-1990 forest owners to change land use providing they plant an equivalent area of new forest elsewhere. We will also be reviewing the second tranche of pre-1990 forest allocations taking into account the benefit that offsetting provides.

“It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet. The lack of any practical and real technologies to reduce agricultural emissions means it would only impose a cost or tax on our most important export industry. It would also have New Zealand too far ahead of our trading partners on climate change mitigation measures. National will review the position in 2014 and only include agriculture if new technologies are available and more progress is made internationally on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“National would introduce legislation in 2012 to amend the ETS. The overall change package would be fiscally neutral. Our objective is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions at the least cost possible and for New Zealand to do its fair share on the global issue of climate change.”

Visit the policy at: http://national.org.nz/PDF_General/Environment_and_climate_change_policy.pdf

ENDS

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