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Dodgy carbon credits will hurt New Zealand's wildlife

Dodgy carbon credits will hurt New Zealand's wildlife

18th April 2016

The Emissions Trading Scheme should be overhauled in light of a new report that reveals New Zealand is meeting its climate change obligations by relying on carbon credits described as fraudulent and linked to organised crime.

"Our Government is undercutting New Zealand's future by allowing use of carbon credits that the Morgan Report identifies as fraudulent and linked to organised crime. Our future and our wildlife are being short-changed by this arrangement, and few New Zealanders will think that’s fair,” says Forest & Bird spokesperson Geoff Keey.

"The recent appointment of Climate Change Issues Minister, Paula Bennett, is an opportunity to review the Emissions Trading Scheme and give New Zealand’s climate change programme a much needed overhaul,” Mr Keey says.

“Getting rid of dodgy, possibly corrupt, carbon credits should be the first step. New Zealand needs a strong mechanism for pricing carbon that is independently overseen and linked to a national carbon budget,” Mr Keey says.

The Morgan Foundation’s report reveals that New Zealand has been the biggest user of Ukrainian and Russian “hot air” carbon credits as a percentage of national emissions. The carbon credits aren’t backed by real emission reductions and the report says they may be linked to organised crime.

The report follows earlier Ministry for the Environment reports that showed the Emissions Trading Scheme has done little to encourage polluters to reduce their emissions.

"Nature in New Zealand needs strong action on climate change. The disruption caused by climate change is likely to be very damaging to New Zealand’s native plants and animals. Sea level rise will threaten coastal ecosystems and deprive native animals of their homes. Fires and extreme weather events will kill wildlife and destroy habitats. Warmer temperatures mean greater spread of pests and diseases.”

“Forest & Bird is looking to Paula Bennett to deliver a new plan to cut New Zealand’s emissions that includes a strong carbon price, is independently overseen, and linked to a national carbon budget. Getting rid of dodgy carbon credits would be a great first step.”

"New Zealand has nearly 600 endangered or critically endangered species of which only 84 have a plan for recovery. The disruption caused by climate change will make their survival chances even lower as marine food supplies are reduced, extreme weather events and fire destroy habitats, and pests and diseases spread in warmer temperatures".

The Morgan Foundation report can be downloaded here.

In February 2016 the Ministry for the Environment published a review of the emissions trading scheme that concluded that the New Zealand ETS has not significantly influenced domestic emissions or business decisions.

In November 2015 the Ministry for the Environment released a discussion document on the emissions trading scheme that New Zealand’s international commitments were met at low cost because firms purchased international permits to meet their obligations.

New Zealand can adjust to a proper price on carbon. According to the Ministry for the Environment, at $20/tonne the carbon price on petrol would be 5c a litre while at $50/tonne the carbon price on petrol would be 12c a litre. At $20/tonne the carbon price on electricity would be 1c per KWH while at $50/tonne it would be 2c per KWH.


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