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NZ paying price for going it alone on ETS

15 September 2011

NZ paying price for going it alone on ETS

“New Zealand’s carbon market is paying the price for relying on the world’s sole national emissions trading scheme (ETS),” said Hon Barry Brill, chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. “All of the world’s sub-prime carbon credits are flooding in, and the value of carbon dioxide has already slumped to $13 per tonne.

“New Zealand’s ETS is unique. Not only is it the only scheme outside of Europe, it is the only one enacted anywhere in the past seven years. It was always inevitable that it would attract the dregs of the world’s trades.

“In a New Zealand Herald article today, Brian Fallow calls for import barriers against carbon credits from the developing world. He has it backwards. Far from excluding international permits which reduce the price of our energy, New Zealand foresters should be selling their own credits to the wider world.”

“Fluctuating prices are the hallmark of market behaviour and not an excuse for changing the rules of the game. The fact that carbon markets have always been permeated with fraud and corruption is not an excuse either – that is the very nature of the beast,” said Mr Brill.

“It is a strange quirk of this wholly artificial market that electricity and petrol prices paid by New Zealand households and producers are determined by efficiency efforts in third world countries. If they produce lots of carbon credits in Kazakhstan or China, our energy prices will go down.

“The whole purpose of an ETS tax on electricity is to coerce the use of renewable energy. But New Zealand already has exceptionally high usage of renewable energy, and just last week we were congratulated by Ban Ki-Moon as ‘a world leader’.

“As Fallow points out, it is the lack of electricity emissions which makes our agricultural emissions seem high in comparison. The reality is that our livestock emissions are very low by world standards. And yet we are the only country anywhere to favour a climate tax on food production.

“Fallow bemoans the fact that the EU over-allocated free credits during both the first and second phase of their scheme. There never was a market so dominated by political risk, and this will only worsen when the Kyoto Protocol expires next year and carbon credits become a free-for-all.

“It is clear what the Caygill Review should have recommended: this ETS should be shelved entirely unless and until there is a respectable and liquid global market for carbon credits,” Mr Brill concluded.

ENDS

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