Emissions Trading Scheme report released

Written By: - Date published: 4:44 pm, August 31st, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

The report of the special select committee on the Emissions Trading Scheme has been released. I’ve only had a chance to read the recommendations and the minority reports (the whole thing is 130 pages).

The committee (with the exception of ACT) says that the climate change is a real and serious environmental and economic threat to New Zealand, which we should try to reduce. A good start.

Unfortunately, having called ‘something must be done!’ in the first recommendation, the majority (National and Peter Dunne) then sets about recommending we do less than what we would under the existing ETS. The majority calls for the price of carbon credits to be capped initially for an undefined period, which effectively means the taxpayer would be subsidising polluters and would lessen the price incentive for planting new carbon sink forests. The majority agrees that all gases and all sectors, including agriculture, should be in the ETS but kicks for touch over the crucial issue of when they should enter. Export-exposed industries would receive an allocation of credits based on their carbon intensity (ie how many dollars they produce for every tonne of carbon, similar to what Harper was looking at in Canada). This potentially allows exporters to increase their emissions for free, rather than capping emissions at the current amount and gradually lowing the cap.

The Maori party minority report is there. It’s very strongly anti weakening the ETS, as proposed by the majority. It restates the fact that the Maori Party believes the ETS as it stands is too generous to polluters and adds they “would do so more strongly if a replacement scheme were to be less effective and more inequitable. “

Labour’s minority report is largely consistent with the Greens, both calling for us to get on with the ETS we have. They set out basic requirements of an ETS and say that the majority report is clearly an attempt to weaken the ETS, mentioning problems including the ones I’ve touched on above. Labour offers some compromises to keep the ETS essentially intact if the Government insists on weakening it and the Greens offer options that would strengthen it but lament that the majority seems uninterested in those. Labour adds a little crack at the way the government is choosing to conduct itself:

“The Labour Party regards the select committee process as a massive waste of public time and resources. We endorse the process concerns expressed by the Green Party. We also observe that, despite having insisted on the setting up of the committee and contributing a lengthy minority report, the Act Party has not deigned to attend most of the committee’s meetings. It would have been far preferable for the Government to have tabled amending legislation to the existing law for the committee to consider. “

The (very long) ACT minority report starts with “The essence of the matter is that New Zealanders are being asked to cut their incomes on the grounds that “science” has proven beyond reasonable doubt that future human-induced climate change” and goes downhill from there. I can just picture the ACT MP in the hearings: ‘You and your “science”, ppifff, next you’ll be expecting me to believe that all those little specks in the night sky are balls of hydrogen and helium millions of kilometres in diameter undergoing fusion reactions.’

The majority report basically calls vaguely for the ETS to be weakened. It’s up to Key now whether the government takes this report as a cover for a serious reversal on tackling climate change or sticks with the status quo so that, finally, we can begin doing something as a nation about this most serious of threats.

22 comments on “Emissions Trading Scheme report released”

  1. Pascal's bookie 1

    Science in scare quotes. ha!

    nutjobs.

  2. checker 2

    “..finally, we can begin doing something as a nation about this most serious of threats.”

    Name one thing we can do as a nation that will make any difference to climate change locally or globally …….just one please.

    • We could persuade wingnuts to expel less hot air when making their insane climate change denials. This could go a considerable distance to helping the country meeting its Kyoto protocol obligations.

      • mike 2.1.1

        Thers’s your answer checker. The alarmists revert to insult when cornered by straight forward questions…

        Still waiting mickey

        • sk 2.1.1.1

          How about this; in World War II NZ’ers could have asked “Name one thing we can do as a nation that will make any difference to the threat of global fascism .just one please”.

          Instead, Michael Joseph Savage – and more importantly Peter Fraser (a pacifist in WWI) committed NZ, despite our military irrelevance.

          So our 0.2% of global emissions is irrelevant. So what? NZ always has been, and always will be, irrelevant by whatever metric you choose. Yet the world has always listened to what we have to say, to what we have been prepared to contribute. It is about Leadership . ..

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.2

          Sorry I reverted to insult but you guys (wingnuts) really push things some times.

          These climate change debates always seem to go like this:

          [Leftie] Climate change will be disastrous and we need to do something about it
          [Wingnut] It does not exist
          [Leftie] It does and it is backed up by 98% of the reputable scientific analysis
          [Wingnut] But ABC says it does not
          [Leftie] Just in case they are wrong we should do something
          [Wingnut] But we cannot because of the economy
          [Leftie] We can and should because of reasons A, B, C, D, E … there is an environmental and economic benefit
          [Wingnut] But we cannot because of the economy
          [Leftie] WTF wern’t you listening?

          It really feels like you guys trot out the same old attack lines without even thinking or addressing the debate. How about thinking before you respond?

        • Ari 2.1.1.3

          First: It’s not our job to inform EVERY person who needs more information about climate change. Coming to the discussion armed with some references- even if they’re completely counter-factual through no fault of yours- is your own responsibility. Not everyone who DEMANDS AN ANSWER NOW is actually entitled to one. Arguments aren’t supposed to be won by exhausting the other side into stopping, even if that’s a convenient tactic for denying our need to act on climate change.

          Second: We really don’t have enough facts about climate destabilisation to determine with exact confidence which target would actually be ideal, and each additional contribution could well be crucial in improving the state in which the climate stabilises. Even if our emissions are tiny, that reason alone is good enough for us to do our part- not to mention that doing our fair share when it’s quite a bit more expensive for us to act helps put pressure on other countries that really want to take a half-assed approach.

    • Maynard J 2.2

      One is that we can help to fund and research technologies that can be shared with the rest of the world. For example, we specialise in certain areas, such as pastoral (as opposed to factory-style) dairying. If we can make advances in that area that are good for the environment we can a) make a lot of money with the idea, and b) help greatly reduce the impact of dairying on the environment world-wide.

      We could do our bit, in the hope that other nations do the same, and the petulant recalcitrant nations are eventually shamed into acting, if nothing else works – that is the way when it comes to IR, is it not?

      I wonder why we gave those birds the vote, by the way, way back when. I mean out of every woman on the planet, NZ granted the vote to what? 0.0001% of them. Waste of time. Eh, checker?

    • Marty G 2.3

      We could do our part to reduce emissions. Or we could act like freeloading bludgers and hope that everyone else cuts. That would be something to be proud of, eh checker?

    • RedLogix 2.4

      Oh fixing climate change is easy. Just divide the world up into lots of little nations of about 4m each, and the emissions from each one will be so insignificant that the problem will go away.

      All we have to do is apply a little common sense to the matter, and I’m surprised all those clever science people haven’t thought of this really simple solution yet. It’s enough to make you suspect that the whole thing is one big hoax eh?

  3. I hope our grandchildren forgive us.

    WIth wry amusement I read that “the Act Party has not deigned to attend most of the committee’s meetings” and from Act’s report “[t]he essence of the matter is that New Zealanders are being asked to cut their incomes on the grounds that “science’ has proven beyond reasonable doubt that future human-induced climate change’

    They could have turned up regularly at least so that they could have heard about the science. Hey, they may even have learned something!

    • mike 3.1

      ‘I hope our grandchildren forgive us’
      My grandchildren will be best served by their Grandad being gainfully employed and not falling victim to idiots striving for NZ to ‘take the lead’ at the cost of our jobs and standard of living

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.1.1

        Yep, that will be the fate of those flat earther countries that won’t can’t catch on to carbon trading market, whose businesses won’t be set up to cope with the new trading environment and who won’t have developed the technology for carbon capture and mitigation, which they will have to import.

      • Ari 3.1.2

        Nobody is asking for New Zealand to take the lead. We’re asking for New Zealand to follow the leader and pick up its share of the load.

        That’s insidious spin at its worst, Mike. >:(

      • Clarke 3.1.3

        It should be easy for your grandchildren to be well served by their grandfather, then – all you have to do is start an insurance company specialising in cheap coverage for properties endangered by never-going-to-happen sea level rise and hysterically-overblown severe weather events.

        As climate change clearly doesn’t exist, you should have the courage of your convictions and club together with a syndicate of like-minded deniers to offer cheap insurance to the huddled masses. After all, given there’s no threat of any of these adverse events occurring, there’s very little risk – collecting all those premiums and banking the profits should be a walk in the park! Your grandchildren will thank you!

        So I look forward to you putting your money where your mouth is. Maybe lprent can do you a great deal on some online advertising on The Standard to kick-start the venture.

        • lprent 3.1.3.1

          Why don’t you find a bet against climate change happening and put your money into that. Seems simpler than adding another insurance policy to the market.

          If people are stupid enough to buy or build that close to the sea then I propose they take the risk themselves.

          • Clarke 3.1.3.1.1

            I agree – anyone who’s bought a beach place in the last decade must have done so with the understanding that sea level rise was going to amount to a clear and present danger to their property within the next few decades

            However that won’t stop the clamouring for public funds to protect their “investments”. In fact it will be hilarious to see the lobbying that will occur to get taxpayers to fund sea walls around Omaha Beach, where That Nice Mr Key has his holiday place ….

            • lprent 3.1.3.1.1.1

              Yeah, but ultimately seawalls even in the best of circumstances are pretty futile. They seem to work until you get a good storm from the wrong direction. Sediment movement is pretty uncontrollable in a chaotic system. With the extra energy in the system it will get more uncontrollable.

    • Nick 3.2

      BS Mickey. This is not about science and never has been. It is about politicians trying to control the climate which is a ridiculous situation. AGW conclusions resulted from computer modelling, not science, and that computer modelling was discredited a long time ago.

      • mickysavage 3.2.1

        As I said before

        [Leftie] Climate change will be disastrous and we need to do something about it
        [Wingnut] It does not exist
        [Leftie] It does and it is backed up by 98% of the reputable scientific analysis
        [Wingnut] But ABC says it does not
        [Leftie] Just in case they are wrong we should do something

        Please Nick confirm where the computer modelling has been discredited and why the vast majority of climate change scientists still describe climate change as a reality and an impending threat.

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    Haven’t seen the reports but read Rod Oram’s comments in yesterday’s SST. Having read about the lack of detail provided by the majority report and heard Key and his ‘we’ll do what Australia does’ attitude it really seems that Nat and their coalition parties are struggling to come to terms with this issue. Then we are have ACT- away on planet ‘it’s OK’.

  5. lprent 5

    Obviously act and the flat earth society are made for each other

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