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Greens call for public input on ETS

Written By: - Date published: 11:10 am, August 22nd, 2008 - 21 comments
Categories: climate change, election 2008, Environment, greens - Tags:

One thing you can always say for the Greens, they’re democratic to their core. Currently, they find themselves facing a tough choice – whether or not to support Labour’s Emissions Trading Scheme – and, true to their democratic principles, they’re asking for advice from the public on their decision.

Jeanette Fitzsimmons outlines the following pros and cons of the supporting the ETS:

  • Pros: there will be substantial financial assistance to help people make their houses warm and dry. We have also made good progress on ensuring that the ETS does not lock our economy into old technology and that there is room for innovation. There will be better rules about allocation plans.
  • Cons: We have not been able to get agreement to phase in transport instead it will come in in one lump in 2011, so this has not changed. We have made very little progress on agriculture but we are still talking about this. Very importantly we have not found a way for Government to accept a biodiversity standard to ensure that planting pines does not destroy biodiversity.

To that, I would add some cons of not supporting the ETS:

  • If the Greens don’t support it and the ETS fails, there will be no ETS for at least another year, probably longer – we’ve waited too long already and all that matters to the environment is the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, not whether we held staunch to all our principles.
  • Not supporting this scheme now risks the power to decide whether or not there is an ETS and what shape it would take going to National, should they win the election. The only guarantee is that whatever National would come up with would be worse than Labour’s ETS. Probably, National’s scheme would be a baseline and credit, rather than cap and trade, scheme like the Conservatives in Canada are pushing, it’s a sap to industry disguised as an emissions policy, basically no emissions reduction scheme at all.

The Greens should vote for the ETS not because it is perfect but because it is good, because it has been improved by negotiations between Labour and the Greens, and because the alternative is much worse.

Offer your opinion to the Greens here.

21 comments on “Greens call for public input on ETS”

  1. Draco TB 1

    Yeah, sent them an email telling them to sign already. Having a badly written law in place and working is better than having no law at all.

  2. Crank 2

    Are the Greens being democratic or gutless?

    This smacks to me of a party who knows what line it should take but wants to palm off any adverse reaction using the line “it was the will of our people.”

    Personally I think the Greens would do better in the election if they hardlined the ETS and used that as a plank in their campaign.

    If the way we are going to deal with global warming as a country is settled before the election it will make the Greens just that little bit more irrelevant.

    Captcha: Clarkson theory – Considering this is a post about the Greens I guess it is not talking about “Jeremy”

  3. Yeah, asking the people what they think is gutless. Gutty(?) parties hide their true agenda, get elected and then do whatever the hell they want.

  4. rave 4

    Steve this is a no-brainer, vote it in and buy time. Who wants the Key master race polluters to rule? Well, all the greedy bastards who want to live it high while we go to hell. That’s freedom for you. Do unto others, but do them.
    So . . .
    Educate for 2011 when transport comes in. Easy, nationalise the oil industry. Swap oil for butter with Venezuela. Take back gas, take back energy. Run it for need not greed. Use the money saved to pay for public transport and a really wonderful train set.
    Educate for getting the farmers onside. Subsidise their pollution controls in exchange for a public shareholding in the industry to keep it cooperative and stop it being gobbled up by Nestle etc.
    Simple really, pollution stops when capitalism stops.

  5. John Stevens 5

    Simple really, pollution stops when capitalism stops.

    I thought communist Russia/Europe were bigger polluters than the west during the cold war. China ain’t clean either.

    Do you really want to live in a country where endeavour is banned and we all live in conrete aprtments with the sewer pipe running down the inside of your state house?

    You can my friend, go live in China.

  6. John, rave wasnt advocating Communism when he said “Simple really, pollution stops when capitalism stops.”

    Its true, in capitalism you make money whatever it takes, you dont bother with those pesky environmental concerns, you just worry about making those profits. What a wonderful system… not.

  7. Bill 7

    Parliament and its parties exist to facilitate business activity – to provide an environment conducive to Capitalist economic activity. The ‘business/ crisis management’ role is elevated to the detriment of social and environmental foci.

    It isn’t ‘right’, it’s just the way it is.

    Parliament will always be an antagonistic arena for those with an environmental or social focus.

    At the end of the day the Greens should be pragmatic and support the ets, warts and all.

    However, it is imperative that a loud and clear message on the limitations of our Parliamentary democracy be sent. Communities need to develop substantive democratic processes alongside the representative structures of our liberal democracy.

    It is from these spaces, where they exist and where meaningful expressions of democracy can be developed in them, that social and environmental agendas can be elevated above a Capitalist business agenda and pressure be brought to bear on our politicians to shift away from, or beyond, an exclusive concern for ‘the market’ and the environment needed to allow it to operate.

  8. I’ve taken the Greens up on their offer – anyone who’s interested can read what I wrote here:

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/08/letter-to-greens.html

    🙂 capthcha = statute calendar – quite prophetic considering one of my concerns is rushed legislation!

  9. T-Rex 9

    Nice work Inventory, pulling the old “time and scrutiny” line eh? Smooth. Inventive too, don’t think it’s been used in this context before.

    I’m sure you swayed them with your “I’ve never voted for you, and I never will” though.

    “Pollution stops when capitalism stops” is one of the more stupid things I’ve read here. That is ridiculous. Pollution stops when emissions stop and waste stops. Which is when either a) our waste controls become so good as to equate to complete recycling (and I bet that’ll be the result of developments made in a largely capitalist society) or when we all die.

    leftrightout – even if that was true, we don’t have true capitalism. We have regulated capitalism, with controls on environmental damage. You might say those controls are poorly administered, but that’s not actually capitalisms fault. I’m with John; if you want to see true polution, go have a wander around the old eastern bloc countries. I flew over them on a clear morning just a few weeks ago, the strip mines and tailing ponds there are unbelievable. In a horrifying way.

    If you want to stop pollution, hit it hard when it starts. Don’t just outlaw all industry. Capitalism is actually a great system for creating responsibility for pollution if you act while the perpetrator still has assets. The distributed responsibility of other systems is a terrible form of environmental control – see tragedy of commons.

    Capitalism DOES, however, require polluters to be forced to internalise the costs of their pollution. That requires laws, like the ETS.

    The Greens should absolutely support the ETS. It is not selling out, it is compromising between values and reality, and it’s a sad necessity. There is a big difference between voting for something as the best of what’s available, and performance a policy flipflop. They are doing the former, not the latter.

  10. rave 10

    “Capitalism DOES, however, require polluters to be forced to internalise the costs of their pollution. That requires laws, like the ETS.”

    Where has this happened? The problem with the ETS is that is will continue to ‘externalise’ pollution costs for sometime in the same old way passing the cost off onto the working class which produces the wealth so that the rich can live off them and complain when some of its gets taxed to support the ‘underclass’.

    If a LPG government is returned it will still take sometime to ‘internalise’ these costs by passing them on to the consumer, rather than the taxpayer, but still the working class majority.

    Unless capitalism has a morality bypass which is an oxymoron then that will mean a further significant shift in income shares away from workers.

    So either drown, suffocate or starve. Hows that for capitalism’s inventiveness? A range of consumer options for the race to the bottom.

    John: ‘actually subsisting socialism’ was not what I had in mind to end capitalism and pollution. As capitalism craps out those societies are models we should not try to copy.

    We need a popular socialism that is controlled by the majority in a democratic way. Despite Von Hayek the potential of planning is much more efficient and sustainable than any market. That’s why every time the market fails along comes the state bank to bail it out or another war to stimulate it. Its called privatising the profits and socialising the losses.
    That’s what “Capitalism DOES…”

  11. Draco TB 11

    “Pollution stops when capitalism stops’ is one of the more stupid things I’ve read here.

    leftrightout – even if that was true, we don’t have true capitalism. We have regulated capitalism, with controls on environmental damage. You might say those controls are poorly administered, but that’s not actually capitalisms fault.

    You may not have noticed but it’s the capitalists that are complaining about putting in place rules that force them to pay for the damage that they do. So, it would seem that it is capitalisms fault.

    Don’t just outlaw all industry.

    Nobody suggested that we do so. Only that we get rid of capitalism.

    The distributed responsibility of other systems is a terrible form of environmental control – see tragedy of commons.

    The Tragedy of the Commons proves that we need communal rules to govern the use of the commons and that it can’t be left to the individual. It is, quite simply, an argument against capitalism and individualism. Considering how much damage we’ve done to the planet due to capitalism I’d say that it’s a fairly strong one as well.

  12. rave 12

    Talk about really possible socialism and defending the commons to put people in charge and end pollution here’s a good video on ‘Winners and Losers in China’. http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/li170808.html

  13. T-rex 13

    Rave.

    Every time a company is fined and forced to clean up the results of its pollution it’s internalising the costs. If you consider the fines to be too low, I’d probably agree in many cases. Prime example here: Dairy.

    Of course costs will be passed on to consumers – how the hell else would it ever work? That comment smacks of ideology rather than logic. The point of the ETS is that it will give a competitive advantage to NON polluters, which will mean that consumers switch to them.

    Further – the emitters don’t get to keep the money, it gets spent on buying carbon credits. Or, if we get our act together, the govt MAKES money by selling carbon credits.

    Draco.

    “It’s the capitalists”? Don’t be a zealot. It’s CERTAIN capitalists. I bet all the capitalists who are trying to make wind and solar mainstream are LOVING it.

    You are yet to explain to me how getting rid of capitalism will stop, or even reduce, pollution. Getting rid of corporations might help, but that’s not the same thing.

    Re: tragedy of commons – don’t warp it. It is an argument against the effectiveness on relying on distributed responsibility to achieve an end, and supports the assumptions of public choice theorem.

    ‘We need communal rules’. What rules would you have that we don’t already? How would you enforce them? What would the penalty be? I hope you’re not going to impose fines for breaking them… you might create a wealth transfer! I also really hope you’re not going to say that “people will follow the rules because it’s in their collective interests to do so”, because that will show you’ve completely lost touch with reality. Good rules must work even when people are lazy, thick, and self interested. Because a lot of them are.

  14. Draco TB 14

    You are yet to explain to me how getting rid of capitalism will stop,

    It will get rid of the excessive influence over the government that capitalists have due to their ownership and wealth allowing a more democratic solution.

    Re: tragedy of commons – don’t warp it.

    I’m not warping it. The Tragedy of the Commons specifically describes a situation where there are no rules thereby allowing individuals to do as they please. This is what brings about the tragedy. Capitalism and the free-market don’t correct this – if anything, they make it worse because the community is at a disadvantage due to excessive property rights.

    What rules would you have that we don’t already? …

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. I meant that the Tragedy of the Commons showed us that we need rules. These rules need to set at a community level (ie, democratically) for them to be legitimate. Enforcement would probably be through some sort of police force although with greater funding than today so that there is a better chance that people who break the rules would be caught.

    …you might create a wealth transfer!

    Just so long as that wealth transfer goes to correcting the wrong done then I have no problems with it.

  15. rave 15

    T-Rex

    Passing on the cost of stopping pollution to consumers under capitalism will not work because there will not be enough consumers rich enough to chose non-polluting options.

    When business fights like hell to continue externalising (socialising) its costs and forcing those costs onto working class taxpayers by cutting taxes to the rich and beefing up consumption taxes and user charges to the workers, how many workers do you think are going to be able to afford to buy the higher priced ‘green’ commodities once these green costs are internalised?

    Just look at the ‘China price’. The impoverished billions of workers will continue to buy Chinese (or Indian or Vietnamese) goods rather than go for higher priced ‘green’ goods.

    Of course this tells us a lot about the logic of capitalism – that each business pays its own workers a little as possible to compete at the same time expecting the employees of other businesses to buy what it produces.

    That is why ‘green’ capitalism is an oxymoron and a utopia which is ironic considering how your righties always talk of socialism as utopian.

  16. To come out of negotiations with some concessions, and to evaluate the new legislation, with it’s complex implications in only a few days?

    They’ve done a brillant thing here, outsourcing the reasoning process, the throwing up of arguments for and against, asking the country’s brightest to put their brains to the problem. I hope that other parties consider greater use of deliberative democracy mediated (as here), or open (as in citizens juries).

    As for the question of whether New Zealand should thoroughly engage with high levels of emissions reductions? Certainly. The actual cost is not particularly high, and we should view it as a chance to rejuvenate and innovate. Countries like Denmark are doing so, and welcoming the chance to change, with no apparent harm. Even China (a country of contradictions) is rapidly engaging heavily with Green technologies (while they build new coal power plants).

  17. Ah, the old tragedy of the Commons myth. Capitalists argument for privatisation.

    I put it to you that smaller communities have a shared interest in maintaining the “Commons” whereas a private individual has an interest in making it as profitable as possible and not necessarily over the long run.

    I live in a rural area and I look at the huge privately owned dairies that are barely able to support a family and a share milkers family. Maybe now it is good for awhile because of the rise in milk prices, but a farmer neighbour of mine who grazes cattle for other parties can barely make a living for him and his wife.

    I look at the land from a permaculture perspective and I see a dead zone only kept alive by huge amounts of oil based fertiliser. If it was owned by a locally producing, locally consuming group it would be able yield enough Meat, eggs, milk, Vegetables, Building materials, fibre and a living space for perhaps as much as a 100 people in a sustainable close circuit Permaculture system.

    As for the capitalist system I think this video about the psychopathy of corporations just about sums it up.

    Hi T-rex,

    Good to see you back here, did you see the NIST rapport on WTC 7?

    They found a new law of Physics: Small office fires collapse massive reinforced skyscrapers in under 7 seconds flat into their own footprint due to, perhaps you should sit down for this one, a brand spanking new Phenomenon: “Thermal Expansion”. LOL.

    Honest to god. They allege that low heat office fires caused one massive floor carrying piece of Steel heated locally for 20 minutes (the average time an office fire stays in a place before it moves on to the next area) buckled leaving one column unsupported and Caboomba! instant pulverisation of the most reinforced building (Giuliani’s emergency bunker was housed on the 23th floor and it was reinforced to withstand a nuclear blast) in New York.

    F*&kin hell, I guess we should all chuck electrical cookers and shower with cold water from now on, eh? You never know when something will turn to dust from now on. LOL.

    I have applied for a demolition permit. A couple of gallons of petrol and a BIC lighter should do it from now on.LOL even louder.

    We have a new group of professionals in our midst <a href=’Ah, the old tragedy of the Commons myth. Capitalists argument for privatisation.

    I put it to you that smaller communities have a shared interest in maintaining the “Commons” whereas a private individual has an interest in making it as profitable as possible and not necessarily over the long run.

    I live in a rural area and I look at the huge privately owned dairies that are barely able to support a family. Maybe now it is good for awhile because of the rise in milk prices, but a farmer neighbour of mine who grazes cattle for other parties can barely make a living. I look at the land from a permaculture perspective and I see a dead zone only kept alive by huge amounts of oil based fertiliser. If it was owned by a locally producing, locally consuming group it would be able yield enough Meat, eggs, milk, Vegetables, Building materials, fibre and a living space for perhaps as much as a 100 people in a sustainable close circuit Permaculture system.

    As for the capitalist system I think this video about the psychopathy of corporations just about sums it up.

    Hi T-rex,

    Good to see you back here, did you see the new NIST rapport on WTC 7?
    They found a new law of Physics: Small office fires collapse massive reinforced skyscrapers in under 7 seconds flat into their own footprint due to, perhaps you should sit down for this one, “Thermal Expansion”. LOL.

    Honest to god. They allege that low heat office fires caused one massive floor carrying piece of Steel heated locally for 20 minutes (the average time an office fire stays in a place before it moves on to the next area) buckled leaving one column unsupported and Caboomba! instant pulverisation of the most reinforced building (Giuliani’s emergency bunker was housed on the 23th floor and it was reinforced to withstand a nuclear blast) in New York.
    (Check the office fire link. Even the fire fighters are coming out of the woodworks for a new 911 investigation.)

    F*&kin hell, I guess we should all chuck our electrical cookers and shower with cold water from now on, eh? You never know when something will turn to dust from now on. LOL.

    I have applied for a demolition permit. A couple of gallons of petrol and a BIC lighter in the right place should do it from now on. LOL even louder.

  18. Something goes really wonky sometimes with the links. I check every time to make sure they work and go back to edit only to find urls removed entirely.
    This is the correct link to the video about corporations.
    corporations

    Captcha: be ARCHBISH?

  19. rave 19

    Travellerev.
    I would be worried that your rural commune will soon be surrounded by giant capitalist dairy farms that spew crap into your streams.
    If Key gets his way the dairy industry will be privatised and never pay for its pollution.
    What do you think of my idea that government should subsidise the dairy cleanups in exchange for a public shareholding in the dairy industry preventing its privatisation and protecting and promoting its cooperative ownership?

  20. Rave

    Sounds like a bloody good idea to me. A sort of huge commons and Kiwis all share in the dairy bonanza not just the lucky few.

    While we’re at it we could use some of that money for the maintenance of our infrastructure instead of PPPs. I lived in Europe and France was the only country who did the toll thing and man it was expensive to travel there.

    All the dairy farms around here are privately owned but I have to say that the farmers around here generally see reason except for the somewhat older farmers. The younger ones actually plant natives along their streams, keep their cows out and the harbour were I live close to is cleaner and richer in fish for it.

    So we’re lucky I guess.

  21. rave 21

    More on the Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons
    http://www.socialistvoice.ca/?p=316

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