Yes to the Emissions Trading Scheme

by frog

The Green Party caucus has just voted to support the Emissions Trading Scheme. I was watching caucus debate through the window and can confirm the decision did not look to be a foregone conclusion. Jeanette’s media release highlights some of the improvements to the scheme:

We have always said the scheme needed to share the effort much more fairly. Along with the one-off financial payment, this goes a long way to compensating households for their higher prices, and reducing energy waste and carbon emissions.
Revenue from the ETS will be recycled into a Billion dollar fund to make New Zealand homes warm, dry and cost-effective to heat.

To avoid locking New Zealand into old technology, there will be a contestable pool of credits for firms with new technologies that help set our economy on a low carbon path. Rules around allocation of free credits will be tightened so that not all firms will get 90 percent if they don’t need them.

Agriculture has received a lot of debate on this blog, and has been an area of constant concern or the greens in regard to the trading scheme. The other major area of concern has been protecting biodiversity:

We reported on Thursday that we had achieved virtually nothing in two areas – agriculture, and protection of important biodiversity from pine plantings. We have now made some progress on both, though it is not all we would like.
A target for agricultural emissions reduction before 2013 will be gazetted along with other targets for emission reductions. Government has also agreed that there will be investment in a range of technologies and practices which can reduce agricultural emissions, particularly nitrous oxide. These will include not just nitrification inhibitors but also low input farming which can be just as profitable; biogas plants to convert manure to energy; and methods to control soil damage in wet conditions such as herd homes and stand off pads.
We received a lot of feedback that many people are concerned the legislation provides no protection for areas of significant biodiversity, such as tussock and regenerating native forest, which might be converted to pines in order to earn credits. The Government has now agreed to a gazetted timetable to develop and implement a National Policy Statement on Biodiversity under the RMA.

And, then she discusses the major problem that has been troubling the Greens in recent weeks:

The biggest danger of this legislation is that it will reassure people that climate change has been addressed and we can get on with business as usual. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We did not achieve an independent carbon authority, but instead allocation plans will be scrutinised by Parliament.
The Minister has admitted that this trading scheme will reduce projected emissions by only 2 percent. Far more than that is needed, and quickly, if the world is to avoid the huge financial, social and environmental costs of a rapidly changing climate.
It was a difficult decision because we do not believe that emissions trading, in itself, will do enough to reduce emissions.

The Greens will continue to fight for greater energy efficiency standards, better and more public transport, accelerated technology change, and a host of practical emissions reduction technologies which will save far more carbon than trading will.
A price on carbon will help to encourage sustainable alternatives to our energy wasting, unsustainable, fossil fuel-based way of life. It is a start, but it is not nearly enough.

frog says

Published in Campaign | Environment & Resource Management by frog on Tue, August 26th, 2008   

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