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NZ and the emissions scams

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, December 18th, 2015 - 11 comments
Categories: accountability, climate change, global warming, spin - Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday in The Herald:

NZ achieved emissions reduction targets: Paula Bennett

New Zealand has achieved its first round of emissions reduction targets and is on track to meet its 2020 target, Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett says.

In the first commitment period in the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand had to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

Mrs Bennett said the target was reached through a combination of emissions reductions, the capture of carbon through forestry, and international trading.

The ministry said New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions had increased by more than 42 per cent since 1990, but these had been offset by carbon sequestration and the purchase of carbon credits.

New Zealand’s dependence on buying carbon credits has been criticised by some climate scientists, who described them as “hot air” credits which do nothing to reduce atmosphere-warming emissions. …

The Herald piece briefly identifies the problems with the claim that we meet our targets. I/S at No Right Turn went much further with two excellent posts, which are reprinted (with permission and full acknowledgement of his work) below.


Climate change: A policy based on fraud

The government released a pile of climate change reports today on its Kyoto Protocol CP1 and CP2 (to which we are not a party) obligations. And they expose the naked fraud which lies at the heart of our climate change policy.

First up, Kyoto. Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand had accepted a target of limiting its net average emissions over the to 2008 – 2012 period to gross 1990 levels. Which in practice meant a target of 309.5 million tons over five years. So how did we do? Our emissions kept increasing, and in fact increased by around 20%, but thanks to the net-gross scam, we were able to use forest reductions to cover that. So, we met our CP1 target, fairly, within the (broadly accepted) Kyoto rules. And according to those rules, the surplus can be “banked” against targets for later commitment periods.

But then the real scam begins. Because according to our CP1 “true-up” report, we paid for a huge chunk of our emissions with international units. Most of this is ERU’s under Kyoto’s Joint Implementation mechanism, and a staggering 86.3 million tons of that came from the Ukraine – where huge amounts of credits were issued fraudulently and as part of an international criminal scam. But we’re also using 16 million tons of Kyoto Certified Emissions Reductions issued under the Clean Development Mechanism. These are also hugely problematic – around 50% of CERs were issued for destruction of refrigerant gases – gases which had been produced solely so they could be destroyed for credit. Which is why such “credits” are no longer accepted, and cannot be used in Kyoto’s second commitment period.

But Kyoto CP1 Assigned Amount Units can. And by paying for our CP1 obligation with these dubious and possibly fraudulent credits, New Zealand has assured that it has a huge surplus of AAU. 123.75 million tons worth, or about two years worth of emissions. And predictably, we’re using this banked credit to “pay” to “meet” our self-imposed CP2 target:
graph-net-position
New Zealand’s projected gross emissions and units acquired over 2013 to 2020 period* (as of 14 December 2015)

Or, to put it simply: we bought fraudulent credit in CP1, we laundered it into AAU, and we’re effectively using it to pay to meet our CP2 reductions. And then we’ll no doubt try and carry over that surplus (plus any other fraud we can launder) to pretend to meet the (self-imposed, not legally binding) 11% by 2030 target we offered at Paris. And meanwhile, our emissions will just keep on rising.

And this is why other countries no longer support international carbon trading: because its an outright scam. And the fact that New Zealand’s climate change policy is based on it speaks volumes about both our honesty and our commitment to real change.


Climate change: How bad is NZ’s climate fraud?

Earlier today I highlighted the New Zealand government’s climate change policy of paying its Kyoto bill with dodgy (and now banned) “emissions reduction” units while banking AAU (which will then be used to pay for future targets). So how dodgy are the units we’re using? We’re literally claiming emissions reductions for burning coal.

As noted earlier, the credits we’re turning over include 86.3 million tons of “reductions” from the Ukraine – which is noted for being particularly dodgy. The raw data is here [XLS], and project details are in the Ukranian JI Registry. I’ve extracted this data for the top 20 projects NZ has purchased emissions “reductions” from here. Those projects account for 61.4 million tons of emissions – or roughly a year’s worth. And eleven of them claim reductions for “spontaneous ignition of coal waste piles”.

What does that mean? The Stockholm Environment Institute working paper referred to in that Guardian article has the details. It means:

extract[ing] coal from coal waste piles, leaving bare rock which does not ignite, and combust[ing] the extracted coal, mostly in power plants. Emission reductions are claimed for the avoidance of waste pile fires, while emissions from combustion of the extracted coal are not counted because it is assumed to substitute coal which would be otherwise obtained from coal mines. For the amount of coal that would otherwise be obtained from coal mines, projects also claim emissions reductions for avoiding upstream emissions from coal mining, including methane emissions associated with deep coal mining and CO2 emissions from electricity consumption by coal mines

The Institute’s conclusion: “we rate additionality of this project type as not plausible and overcrediting likely to be significant”.

New Zealand is claiming at least 31.2 million tons of “reductions” form this bullshit – half a year’s emissions.

But it gets worse. The Stockholm Institute identifies four types of projects as having “questionable or low environmental integrity”: spontaneous ignition of coal waste piles, energy efficiency in industry and power production and distribution, and natural gas transportation and distribution. Eighteen of the twenty largest Ukranian projects New Zealand purchased “reductions” from (totalling 51.3 million tons) fall into these categories. One is a “no-tillage” agriculture project, which the Institute notes are deliberately misclassified in Ukraine to allow the credits to be fraudulently sold onto the EU market. And the final one, for “Implementation of Energy-Saving Light Sources in the Public, Corporate аnd Private Sectors of Ukraine”, appears to have issued twice as many credits as its expected reductions. Basicly, we’re paying our bill with bullshit and fraud.

Note that the government probably didn’t buy these credits itself – they were likely turned over by participants in the ETS to pay for their emissions. But the government has chosen to use them to cover our Kyoto emissions, in order to be able to bank its AAU and claim it as a reduction later. And given that it has now banned these types of credit, it did so in full knowledge of how dubious they are. The effect this will have on our international reputation is left as an exercise for the reader.

11 comments on “NZ and the emissions scams”

  1. Bill 1

    Can we (humanity) just cut to the chase and acknowledge that carbon credits have absolutely no effect whatsoever on lowering global CO2 emissions and that they may well actually increase emissions?

    These are two good pieces by NRT, but the detailing of the ‘scam’ (and I dare say every government is playing the same bloody stupid game) is irrelevant in the context that any and all carbon trading schemes are self deluding scams anyway.

    • b waghorn 1.1

      100% agree the credits are useless , while this government will do nothing the next lot in need to focus any carbon tax raised on spending on real change in nz , we can’t change the world but we can at least solve our emissions and hope others do their part.
      BTW that article shows why bennett got the job , she’s the best bullshit artist they have.

    • Pat 1.2

      no we can’t….because that would require real meaningful change and we must have business as usual.

    • Steve Withers 1.3

      I agree…but the neo-liberals insisted on the “market” that would price carbon to send “signals” to reduce emissions.

      Then we spent 25 years refusing to implement the model that had been insisted on as the only way to do it.

      When some jurisdiction gave up on market forces and simply imposed a tax, the people who wanted to block anything being done moved heaven and earth to get rid of any government that imposed a carbon tax…and they have been mainly successful in that.

      So we’re left with a market solution that governments can cheat on – or simply refuse to participate in…..though we still have “target” of 1.5C of warming that we have all agree to….but there are no consequences for failure (other than the climate making life hell for the people who don’t have the resources or the power to protect themselves).

      This is gross corruption…and the National Party in New Zealand is leading the way. They are Bangladesh in Molesworth St.

      But to be fair to them….they think climate change is all nonsense anyway. They’ll pay lip service to look good, but they see themselves as doing nothing wrong because they just don’t know what the science is….and don’t care.

      Willful ignorance is often just as evil as malevolent purpose.

  2. savenz 2

    Outrageous that our government is apparently ADDING to climate change by not reducing emissions and by adding credits that are encouraging the use of carbon by destruction of refrigerant gases – gases which had been produced solely so they could be destroyed for credit.

    A lovely example of neoliberalism in action. Polluters profiting by adding to carbon to the atmosphere so they can claim profit for stopping it.

    From Greenpeace that shows we are a staggering 96% above 1990 levels by 2030….

    “Less than a week after signing the Paris climate agreement, a new report shows that the National Government’s current policies will see New Zealand’s emissions increase 96% above 1990 levels by 2030!
    This report actually shows that contrary to what we’ve been told, and what was promised in Paris, the Government’s very own projections show we will blow our emissions out of the water in the years to come.
    Here’s the full report: http://bit.ly/1O9CN3Y

  3. RedLogix 3

    These elitist Tory scum never saw a rule they couldn’t scam.

  4. Macro 4

    But! But! But reducing Carbon emissions in NZ would mean we as country would actually have to do something! Don’t you people realize that that would make us unpopular.
    Akshully the sheeple like their summer holidays and a nice bit of warm weather… so what if a few beach houses get washed away from time to time …. I’ve got another in Hawaii.

  5. The Chairman 5

    Evidently, opting for the Emissions Trading Scheme opposed to a carbon tax has largely enabled this fraudulent behaviour and the ability to keep polluting.

    Unfortunately, the Emissions Trading Scheme is Labour’s preferred option, introduced by Labour in 2008. Putting them at odds with the Greens, who prefer a tax.

  6. savenz 6

    NZ has so much forestry surely we should be profiting from carbon credits, can’t work out why a country like NZ is actually having to buy credits in? Industry and government be super dirty and polluting or clueless!!

  7. savenz 7

    Oh Look, polluters don’t even need to pay tax in OZ…

    “More than one-third of the largest public companies and multinational entities paid no tax in Australia in the most recent financial year on record, according to the first transparency report published by the Australian Taxation Office.

    Tax transparency: search the full list of 1,539 companies
    Read more
    Qantas Airways was the company with the highest total income that paid no tax, followed by a subsidiary of mining group Glencore (GHP 104 160 689 Pty Ltd), ExxonMobil Australia and Lend Lease. These companies reported a taxable income of zero, despite having incomes in billions of dollars during 2013-14.

    The ATO data release covers Australian public companies and foreign entities, public and private, with total annual incomes of $100m or more. This was the category of businesses the Coalition did not seek to shield in the recent political dispute over tax transparency for Australian private companies.

    Of the 1,539 individual entities listed in the ATO report, 579 (or 37.6%) paid no tax, and 920 (62.4%) paid some tax in 2013-14.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/17/ato-report-shows-nearly-600-big-companies-paid-no-tax-in-2013-14?CMP=share_btn_fb

  8. Tracey 8

    How can this be when the market solves all????.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Transitioning to a fully-qualified home-based ECE workforce
    Home-based early childhood education (ECE) subsidised by the government will transition to a fully qualified workforce by 2025 to ensure better and more consistent quality, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “Quality early learning helps provide children with a strong foundation for their future,” Chris Hipkins said. From 1 January ...
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    3 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission gets to work
    The new Criminal Cases Review Commission | Te Kāhui Tātari Ture (CCRC) has started work and can now independently investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “Even though we have appeal rights and safeguards against unsafe convictions, from time to time our justice system does get things wrong. The design of the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou Ki a koutou Te Āti Awa, Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei, tēnā koutou Ko Te Whare Wānanga o Aotearoa ki ngā take o te Ao (NZIIA), Ko te Rōpū Tohu Tono ...
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    3 days ago
  • Six months with baby and $20 more a week for new parents
    The Government’s increase to paid parental leave kicks in today with another 4 weeks taking New Zealand up to a full 6 months (26 weeks, up from 22 weeks) leave for new parents, and the maximum weekly payment will increase by $20pw, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Infrastructure investment to create jobs, kick-start COVID rebuild
    A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today outlined how the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today expressed the New Zealand Government’s deep disappointment at the passage by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee of a national security law for Hong Kong. “New Zealand has consistently emphasised its serious concern about the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong without inclusive ...
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    3 days ago
  • July 1 marks progress for workers, families
    More jobs and more family time with newborns are the centrepiece of a suite of Government initiatives coming into effect today. July 1 is a milestone day for the Government as a host of key policies take effect, demonstrating the critical areas where progress has been made. “The Coalition Government ...
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    3 days ago
  • Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry
    Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses.  The call-in means the application has been referred ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand to host virtual APEC in 2021
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, including resultant border restrictions, had been the major factor in the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Matakana Link Road construction kicks off and drives jobs
    The start of construction on a new link road between Matakana Road and State Highway 1 will create jobs and support the significant population growth expected in the Warkworth area, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff announced today. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said construction of the Matakana Link ...
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    4 days ago
  • PPE supplies secured as COVID-19 response focuses on border
    The Government is prioritising its latest investment in PPE for frontline health workers, including staff at managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Health Minister David Clark says. “With no community transmission of COVID-19 our response now has a firm focus on keeping our border safe and secure. “We must ensure that ...
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    4 days ago
  • PGF funding for Parihaka settlement
    The Parihaka Papakāinga Trust in Taranaki will receive up to $14 million for a new visitor centre and other improvements at the historic settlement that will boost the local economy and provide much-needed jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little have ...
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    5 days ago
  • Protections for workers in triangular employment
    Protections for workers who are employees of one employer but working under the direction of another business or organisation have come into force, closing a gap in legislation that  made the personal grievance process inaccessible for some workers, says Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “This Government is working hard to ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government strengthens managed isolation system
    A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify and understand current and emerging risks to ensure the end-to-end ...
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    5 days ago
  • Whakatāne to go predator free with Government backing Ngāti Awa led efforts
    The important brown kiwi habitat around Whakatāne will receive added protection through an Iwi-led predator free project announced by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. “The Government is investing nearly $5 million into Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa’s environmental projects with $2.5 ...
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    6 days ago
  • Growing Goodwood: Expanding wood waste recycling plant in Bay of Plenty, Waikato
    An extra 4,000 tonnes of offcuts and scraps of untreated wood per year will soon be able to be recycled into useful products such as horticultural and garden mulch, playground safety surfacing and animal bedding as a result of a $660,000 investment from the Waste Minimisation Fund, Associate Environment Minister ...
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    7 days ago
  • Scott Watson’s convictions to be referred to Court of Appeal
    The Governor-General has referred Scott Watson’s convictions for murder back to the Court of Appeal, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Mr Watson was convicted in 1999 of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. His appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2000 was unsuccessful, as was his ...
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    1 week ago
  • Protecting Kiwis with stronger financial supervision
    A new five-year funding agreement for the Reserve Bank will mean it can boost its work to protect New Zealanders’ finances, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand has a strong and stable financial system. Financial stability is an area that we are not prepared to cut corners for, particularly ...
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    1 week ago
  • Forgotten funds and missing money
    A law change has been introduced to make it easier for forgotten funds in institutional accounts to be returned more easily to their rightful owners. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has introduced an amendment to the Unclaimed Money Act 1971. It will update the rules controlling forgotten sums of money held ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government delivers on mental health commitment
    The Government is delivering on election commitments and a key recommendation of He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction with the establishment of a permanent independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. Legislation enabling the establishment of the fully ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand privacy law modernised
    A Bill to replace New Zealand’s Privacy Act passed its third reading in Parliament today, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced. “The protections in the Privacy Bill are vitally important. The key purpose of the reforms is to promote and protect people’s privacy and give them confidence that their personal ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tourism operators provided extra support
    Extra support is being provided to tourism businesses operating on public conservation land announced Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today.  The Government is providing $25m worth of support to tourism operators impacted by COVID-19, with a decision to waive most Department of Conservation tourism related concession ...
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    1 week ago