Friday, 30 April 2010

Will NZ's ETS Survive?

A Week in Politics . . .

Two days ago, the Minister for the Environment seemed Gibraltar-like in his insistence that New Zealand would press ahead with its Emissions Trading Scheme. On Tuesday (27th April, 2010), the NZ Herald reported this:
Finance Minister Bill English told Parliament the issues around the emissions trading scheme were complex, and Radio New Zealand reported Environment Minister Nick Smith as saying there were no plans to change New Zealand's ETS implementation dates.
By Thursday, it was reporting this:
New Zealand's emissions trading scheme is still here. But the Government yesterday issued a "we hear what you are saying" message to an increasingly grumpy business sector whose mounting chorus is demanding a halt to be called to the phasing in of that scheme.

Until a couple of days ago, the Government had seemed somewhat immune to those cries which have been prompted by the growing reluctance of other trading partners to introduce matching schemes of their own. That apparent indifference evaporated yesterday after Australia - New Zealand's largest export market - announced its scheme will go on the back burner until after that country's election later in the year.

And in another article on Thursday, 29th:
Environment Minister Nick Smith said yesterday "New Zealand would be unlikely to proceed with the full obligations for the energy, transport and industrial sectors and to add additional sectors to the emissions trading scheme in New Zealand if there was not progress in other countries, particularly of trading partners like Australia, Japan and the United States." Dr Smith said it was never intended as a "one-off big bang" but a scheme that evolved. "International developments have to be a key part of decisions in that."

Prime Minister John Key was equivocal in his commitment to the ETS, saying "at this stage we are continuing with the rest of it".

There is absolutely nothing to be gained, and an awful lot to lose, if the Government were to proceed with this ETS nonsense. But the whole thing has become more than a joke, and it is now beyond laughter. The intent of the ETS was that all New Zealand, businesses and households, were to be taxed, so that we can send money offshore to buy "carbon-credits", legitimatising our own carbon-dioxide emissions. But now that all around the world ETS's are disappearing faster than the moa, and there will be no global credits to buy.

Might as well just send the money direct to the Chinese or Indian government. It would be more transparent. They will take it willingly, nodding piously, whilst they keep the grins off their faces.

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