Nats plan to subsidise greenhouse polluters

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 am, April 29th, 2010 - 19 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, climate change, ETS, flip-flop, national - Tags: ,

“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.

19 comments on “Nats plan to subsidise greenhouse polluters”

  1. Pass the buck sums it up perfectly.

    I despair for the Human Race. There is this strong selfish chip in too many of us that causes us to maximise personal wealth at the expense of everyone else. It is the defining feature of the market economy that is held up as being the best mechanism to use to rule us all. Those that do best are the most selfish.

    The behaviour about climate change is a classic example of this, minimise your liabilities and pass them onto someone else.

    The only problem is that climate change is not something that we can ignore or avoid. Gaia will have her way unless we do something radical soon.

  2. Joe Bloggs 2

    how ironic. Five years ago Nick Smith pointed out that

    “The madness of the [Labour] Government’s new carbon tax is that New Zealanders will be the only people in the world paying it. It will drive up the costs of living and undermine the competitiveness of New Zealand.”

    How prophetic.

    Now he’s listening to his own advice to AXE the TAX…

  3. Bill 3

    This link of Monbiot confronting the three main British parties on their fossil fuel plans is illuminating insofar as the ducking and diving and apparent inability to elevate reality above their habit of politicking is basically the same as we have heard from parliamentary parties here.

    No surprises there then.

    Meanwhile, us punters seem to ‘get it’ and want action….in spite of well funded denialist propaganda and msm reporting falling way short on the matter.

    Fact. On our present trajectory, our only home is going to become very hostile place to be, and yet…well, I’ll put it this way…

    Anyone want to make a punt on why we are still relying on these politicians; these idiots, who seem unable to wholly grasp or operate in the real world to do something truly pragmatic?

  4. Ianmac 4

    Dairy Farming is said to be very very profitable. Dairy farming is responsible for the major part of the air pollution 50%+ and a large part of the water pollution- run-off. One council reported that of the 2-300 pollution crimes identified, only 5% were prosecuted. Dairy farming looks like getting a fast track to extract more precious water in Canterbury. The better dairy exports get, the more we pay for butter, cheese, milk.

    What happened to User-pays?
    What happened to Sensible Sentencing of Dairy Farming Crimes?

  5. randal 5

    hey these guys that do all the polluting need the money to buy their speedboats, sportsplanes, second car, hardly davison, upstate estate in the hamptons and any manner of costly but superfluous accoutrements to demonstrate their superiority over the rest of humanity.

  6. Hamish 6


    “Govt may ditch emissions trading scheme”

    “Pressure mounts for a rethink after Australia puts scheme off till 2013
    The Government said yesterday it would probably ditch the rest of the emissions trading scheme as scheduled beyond 2013 if its major trading partners did not have schemes as well.”

  7. Ianmac 7

    Of course, it would help National popularity to cancel what would otherwise be an added cost to the population and Business would be very pleased. It is what they lobbied for. The general population might only care about what hurts the pocket, and to be told that they will be charged less, is more relevant than Emission Trading schemes.

  8. Doug 8

    What does everyone think of Carter’s not so veiled threat to councils to toe the farmers line on water allocation or else.

    • ianmac 8.1

      What they can do to Canterbury they can do to a town near you! Be afraid!

    • Pascal's bookie 8.2

      Nice local govt you got there, be a shame should something happen to it.

      ‘cept even less coded.

      Came right out and said it.

      Farmers have a veto and a privileged* position. Respect that, and you’ll be fine.

      Though I’m open to hearing any other interpretation, if anyone’s got one.

      *Privilege = private law granted by the crown.

  9. Salsy 9

    If the aim of the ETS is to force upon polluters the inevitable process of change, then how is taxing ordinary New Zealanders and letting polluters off scot free going to produce this change? The Swedish have their priorities correct, force the change, then we can all enjoy the benefits – Finally an economy producing value added commodities, in an increasingly green focused international consumer market..

    “We have strengthened instruments so that the polluter pays, leading to a dramatic changeover from dependence on fossil fuels to green investments and emissions reductions. One such strengthened instrument is the carbon dioxide tax,” says Mr Carlgren.

  10. You need to realise that when animals do what comes naturally, it is not pollution.
    Even using that word shows a deplorable lack of understanding.
    Animals are part of a self-balancing ecosystem.
    Have you counted the number of times you’ve used the word ‘polluters’ in your article?
    Why don’t you have a look and see what real pollution is- and stop spreading such inaccurate nonsense
    about a gas which is essential for plant life.
    Don’t you realise, if you have such a high opinion of ‘green’ plants, that if they can’t have access to CO2 they won’t stay green?
    In fact a CO2 enriched environment is wonderfully beneficial for plants.
    You need to go and get your facts straight about what constitutes pollution.
    The natural emissions of cows and sheep do not qualify!!!

    • Marty G 10.1

      cows and sheep aren’t natural parts of the NZ environment any more than cars are. They’re organic parts of our technological society.

      I love your website starts with ‘plants need carbon dioxide’. It’s the kind of depth of understanding you get from someone who says we shouldn’t have any gun controls because some guns have legitimate uses or it’s like saying because your diet needs some fat there’s no trouble with having a high fat diet.

    • NickS 10.2

      Oh lordy, we got are selves a reeeeal stupid one here, but mate, don’t make my green world brown with your ignorance about ecology and biochemistry.

    • RedLogix 10.3

      Don’t you realise, if you have such a high opinion of ‘green’ plants, that if they can’t have access to CO2 they won’t stay green? In fact a CO2 enriched environment is wonderfully beneficial for plants.

      This particular bit of nonsense is a classic. It falls into the idiotic trap of imagining that just because some CO2 is required for plants, that more is necessarily better. Increased CO2 would only be beneficial for plants IF and only IF that was the limiting nutrient in their environment; but because most flora evolved in geological times when CO2 was between 250-350ppm they don’t really need more than that. Usually plants are limited by other nutrients such as water availability, nitrogen, other trace elements, sunlight, pests etc.

      You can of course force plant growth somewhat by pumping CO2 into greenhouses where you can control and supply other nutrients to match…but in the wider envrionment this simply doesn’t apply. It’s as dumb as saying that just because people need 1-2L of water per day that they would do better drinking 20L.

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