Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

33% Gap Between Emissions Target and Performance


22 October 2013

33% Gap Between Emissions Target and Performance

There is a 33% gap between the government’s new climate change target and New Zealand’s expected performance, all up. The overshoot is greater than previously expected as projected emissions are higher.

The gap is one of the new metrics that can be derived from the cabinet paper that sets out New Zealand’s emissions target for 2020 - released to the Sustainability Council under the Official Information Act.

Based on this paper, New Zealand recently committed to reducing its emissions in 2020 to 5% below 1990 levels, or providing carbon credits to make up the difference. That single-year target translates into a carbon budget for the 2013 to 2020 period of about 510 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt).

Government projections show gross emissions for that period are expected to total about 680 Mt - around 33% above the target, and 8% above the level projected two years ago.

When carbon absorbed by crop forests is also counted, this roughly halves the gap to about 15% above the target on a net emissions basis. The trouble is, those trees may be absorbing carbon and reducing net emissions today, but they are planned to be cut down in the 2020s and the bulk of the carbon will then be released again.

So looking at emissions for just the eight-year period and also including the carbon absorbed by crop forests, the government estimates in the cabinet paper that New Zealand is 78 Mt over the target. That is up considerably on projections from 2011 under which New Zealand would have met the target. And once liability for the future release of another 90 Mt from crop forests is factored in, the long-term picture is a total excess of about 170 Mt resulting from this period.

The cost of the extra 90 Mt depends on the future price of carbon credits. It represents a contingent liability to taxpayers of $2.3 billion at the price the government traditionally uses to assess climate policy options ($25/tonne), and could be many times that figure.

The government plans to pay the other half of the bill (the 15% difference between the target and net emissions) using international carbon credits it will hold over from the initial Kyoto period of 2008 to 2012. That is a novel accounting approach for a country that is not taking a second commitment under Kyoto and if it does not get the required international agreement, New Zealand could end up paying for this other 78 Mt later on as well.

The overall effect is to put much of the cost of today’s excess emissions on tomorrow’s taxpayers. At least the majority of the bill for failing to reduce gross emissions in line with the target is simply being put on the credit card.

Until carbon budgeting legislation is put in place that requires governments to properly account for carbon, and to commit to long-term emission reduction plans, they can too easily keep sending the bills to our children.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

Exceptional global heat driven by greenhouse gas emissions mean this decade will most likely go down as the warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization...

The agency also finds that 2019 is on track to be the second or third warmest year in history, with the global average temperature during January through October, roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>

 

NZ First Conflicts Of Interest: New Details Around Timeline

New information has emerged showing it was the New Zealand First chief of staff who identified potential conflicts of interest between a forestry company and two senior government ministers, sparking a series of declarations. More>>

Earlier:

Donations:

Five New Cancer Meds In Six Months: Pharmac Funds More Cancer Medicines, Faster Assessment

PHARMAC has confirmed that two new medicines – olaparib for ovarian cancer and fulvestrant for breast cancer – have been approved for funding... Rituximab and bortezomib, which are already funded, have also been approved for widened access following successful commercial proposals from new suppliers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Stoking Fears About Cannabis Law Reform

It was always going to be hard to have a rational debate on cannabis reform. Far easier for politicians to win votes by stoking alarm... More>>

ALSO:

Tūhoronuku Mandate Recognition Ends: "New Opportunity" For Ngāpuhi Treaty Negotiations

The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Next Phase Of Recovery Underway

“Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and safety regulator WorkSafe." More>>

ALSO:

Peters Stoic: Russia On Afghan Firing Range Deaths

The foreign minister won't be calling in the Russian ambassador concerning comments made about New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan. In a media briefing late last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said New Zealand must investigate crimes against civilians. More>>

ALSO:

Christchurch Call: Online Crisis Response Workshop In Wellington

Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels