Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, January 23rd, 2016 - 52 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, climate change, global warming - Tags: carbon trading, climate change, emission reduction, emissions, fraud
This week has seen a lot of coverage of the news that 2015 has been confirmed as by far the hottest year on record. A post here at The Standard generated plenty of discussion (a lot of it driven by a couple of persistent climate change deniers peddling the usual lies).
In the context of the news that we are on course to wreck the environment and ecosystems that sustain us I think it is timely to revisit an article that appeared on December 26th in the Dom Post. It is much too important to be left languishing in the Christmas news vacuum. Geoff Simmons (an economist with the Morgan Foundation) writes:
Dealing with criminals in climate fraud
The Government’s plan for meeting our Kyoto Protocol commitment and 2020 emissions reduction target was released this month. It reveals a shocking truth: New Zealand has been a willing participant in a wholesale climate fraud. We’ve been dealing with criminals and fraudsters in order to meet our international obligations.
Carbon trading is a fine idea, but it only works if the credits we buy actually represent a true emissions reduction somewhere else. The sad truth is that the foreign credits New Zealand has gorged on up until now have produced little to no climate benefit.
New Zealand’s main vice has been a particular type of carbon credit called the Emissions Reduction Unit (ERU). … Over 90 per cent of ERUs have come out of Russia and Ukraine, and under Kyoto they were allowed to authorise their own projects. No surprise that when they were externally audited this year, 85 per cent of the units didn’t stand up to scrutiny. They are essentially worthless bits of paper. … One UN official went as far as to call it organised crime.
In 2012 the market got flooded with ERUs. The EU retaliated, restricting the use of these ‘offsets’ in their Emissions Trading Scheme. The price went through the floor – from over $20 per tonne in early 2011 to around 10c per tonne in 2013. There was one place the crooks could still ditch their fraudulent credits though: clean, green, ethical New Zealand. Our government kept allowing their unlimited use in our ETS right up until we got chucked out of the international trading system in 2015 for not signing up to Kyoto II.
We have been the biggest abuser of fraudulent carbon credits. Someone should be answerable as an accessory to the fraud. We have spent more than $100m willingly buying these cheating credits that have no benefit for the climate. … The politicians have known damn well what they’ve been doing. …
There’s plenty more – go read the original piece in full. The whole fraudulent system is, incidentally, a perfect example of what is wrong with “carbon credits” and “carbon trading”. Better than nothing, but nowhere near as direct and effective as a carbon tax (polluter pays).
I would like to be able to say that I find NZ’s participation in this fraud unbelievable – but I don’t. It is all too believable that our current government, the dirtiest in NZ’s history, is happy to play dirty on climate change. Things won’t fall apart in the next electoral cycle, so what do they care.
As a final note, while the Morgan article is good and pulls no punches, all credit to I/S at No Right Turn who was (as far as I am aware) the first to break this story in NZ back in December. We reprinted his posts here.