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National admits the ETS is broken

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, March 18th, 2016 - 12 comments
Categories: climate change, ETS, Globalisation, john key, national, obama, paula bennett, same old national - Tags: , , , ,

Earth climate change

Post COP21 when an international consensus has been reached that the world is facing a climate change induced catastrophe National is planning on doing something, well sort of.

Paula Bennett has announced that it is a matter of when and not if the Government will wind back the one for two carbon credit scheme introduced by National in 2009.  The scheme effectively halved the cost of carbon credits for major polluters.

From Radio New Zealand:

The so-called one-for-two scheme was introduced in the depth of the Global Financial Crisis to minimise the economic impact of fighting climate change.

It meant that people and companies such as petrol firms would have to pay for only half the value of their emissions via purchases of so-called carbon credits.

Typically, these came from forestry companies whose trees absorbed carbon, as they grew, and were sold on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

But Mrs Bennett told the audience this concession would go.

“This isn’t really a case of if we remove one-for two, but more when and how,” she told her audience.

“It was always a temporary measure.

She has effectively conceded that the ETS is not working.

“It is abundantly clear that if the ETS is going to work, carbon must cost more than it does right now.”

Mrs Bennett added the ETS, which was intended to curb emissions, was not working well.

There would need to be more investment in tree planting, and companies emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases would have to do more than they did now.

Credit where credit is due the Government is moving slowly, ever so slowly to try and make the ETS work.  Another indicator is the recent change to the ETS so that cheap fraudulent foreign issued carbon credits could no longer be used to satisfy Kyoto Protocol obligations.  This caused the price of credits to increase from cents to over ten dollars a unit.  It is at these levels that local carbon sink projects start to become viable.

But you have to wonder at the pace of change.  The world is facing its greatest threat and the Government shows no sign of understanding the urgency.  If you want a sense of the urgency following are some of the more notable comments about climate change made over the years.

Helen Clark in 2002:

Climate change is a global problem and a concerted international effort is required to combat it.”

Rajendra Pachauri in 2007:

If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.

Barack Obama in 2014:

For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week — terrorism, instability, inequality, disease — there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate”.

Pope Francis in 2015:

Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”

Angela Merkel in 2015:

We must now agree on a binding review mechanism under international law, so that this century can credibly be called a century of decarbonisation”.

And even this doozie from John Key in 2007:

The National Party will ensure that New Zealand acts decisively to confront this challenge.

The scientific consensus is clear: human-induced climate change is real and it’s threatening the planet. There are some armchair sceptics out there, but I’m not one of them.

All New Zealanders want to preserve our world and the way of life it affords us, our children and our grandchildren. That ideal is not the preserve of the Labour and Green Parties – it’s a Kiwi instinct.

We are fair-minded people, and tackling climate change requires global action – and, as a responsible international citizen, New Zealand should stand up and be counted.

So how about it National?  How about acting decisively to confront this most pressing of challenges.  You have had seven long years …

12 comments on “National admits the ETS is broken ”

  1. saveNZ 1

    “National admits the ETS is broken’

    Pity they did not bother to go with the Green proposal in the first place.

  2. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3

    Go pigouvian, I say.

    • Stuart Munro 3.1

      Direct regulation is simpler and more effective. Closes down actual polluters – no buying it off. Principals are not to be multiplied beyond necessity – the market isn’t needed everywhere.

      • Troy 3.1.1

        @ Stuart Monro. It could definitely be effective, but I’m not sure how it would be simple or cost effective. Please explain how you would directly regulate methane emissions from cows and sheep, steel production at Glenbrook, land use change and use of gas for milk processing. Look forward to learning more!!

    • pat 3.2

      maybe….but it would be difficult to separate and apply the costs/benefits and imagine the admin nightmare and constant dispute/appeals….unless you had some omnipotent board that applied arbitrary rates without the right of appeal……

  3. Macro 4

    Another indicator is the recent change to the ETS so that cheap fraudulent foreign issued carbon credits could no longer be used to satisfy Kyoto Protocol obligations. This caused the price of credits to increase from cents to over ten dollars a unit. It is at these levels that local carbon sink projects start to become viable.

    Actually no!
    The government hasn’t cancelled out those fraudulent hot air units already in the system. They just stopped any more being brought in. So in effect, there are still enough of them sloshing around in the system to effectively cover NZ’s continued BAU and no cut in GHG emissions until at least the next election.
    Secondly the effective price for Carbon for foresters to again think of planting more trees is around $15.00 per tonne – not $11.00.
    There really is only one solution to capping and reducing Carbon emissions and that is Carbon tax of at least $50.00 per tonne and taxed at source (mine or well) or point of entry into the country (tanker load). Sadly Labour still haven’t got their heads around that and think they can play with the trading of Carbon.
    ETS’s, as we have seen already, are just too easy to scam and misuse and do not send the correct message to polluters or to consumers. Further more revenue generated by taxation can be directly targeted to subsidizing initiatives for further emissions reduction, and assisting those consumers who are otherwise unable to change to a smaller Carbon footprint.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Right you are. Existing credits can still be used.

      I say that projects can start to be viable. I agree that not all are viable at this price.

    • Yep, best method would be a costly tax on emissions, and import of carbon fuels or usage of natural resources that emit carbon, (such as burning wood) with first dibs on revenue from said tax being to credit foresters for net planting and conservation of trees, (and any other net carbon sinks) and the rest used to refund money to the taxpayer- ideally by reducing GST, but potentially as a climate dividend where the revenue isn’t large enough to make an appreciable cut.

      Best setting is to make the tax worse than the credit, and to raise them comparatively if we’re behind target on cuts.

  4. Draco T Bastard 5

    But you have to wonder at the pace of change. The world is facing its greatest threat and the Government shows no sign of understanding the urgency.

    The thing about this government is that it’s still more concerned with the profits of those polluting industries than it is with climate change. Hell, they’re only doing this small amount because the polls show that the people want more action. Now this government can say that they’re doing something even though it’s not enough.

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