“The constantly shifting sands of pragmatism”. That how’s John Armstrong describes National’s plan for governing this country as Nick Smith indicates that a further gutting of the already too weak Emissions Trading Scheme is on the cards. I call it a predictable pay off for polluters from the party of big business.
As surely as the sun rises in the morning, the polluters are starting to whinge as the time for them to start paying for their pollution approaches. And as sure as the Government is a bunch of rip-off artists and incompetents led by a weak-willed fair weather friend, National is continuing the practice of a decade by looking to put the cost of polluters’ actions on to the rest of us.
It looks like the Nats are preparing to can the 2013 extensions to the ETS they passed just five months ago. These extensions would have ended the 2 for the price of 1 deal polluters get now when buying pollution licences (otherwise called carbon credits) and would have brought farming into the scheme. So, a back down means that we keep picking up the tab for the country’s biggest polluters – the farmers – and half the bill for the others.
Let’s be clear, it doesn’t matter if some other countries are too weak to pass their own ETSs. The cost of climate change does not go away just because we don’t have the common sense to make polluters pay it. Nor can our obligations under Kyoto and its successor, and the fact the taxpayer loses opportunity to sell carbon credits abroad when polluters aren’t forced to make cuts, be wished away just because National wants to do another favour for its bludging mates.
And every day – while this same stupid game of pass the buck is played out in countries all over the world, as polluters refuse to accept their responsibilities, and governments refuse to do what needs to be done – more and more greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere and we lock ourselves in to economic and ecological devastation.