Less than 2 percent

The Emissions Trading Scheme will only reduce emissions by 2 percent.  So a reader writes asking a query about the following John Key statement:

I told the group that while we must play our part in the fight against climate change, we shouldn’t be the world leader, because that will come at the expense of our economy.

That’s why we will amend Labour’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) so that we balance our environmental responsibilities with our economic opportunities.

As Key’s own party has previously pointed out we’re already not a world leader in fighting climate change, thanks partly to Labour, and never will be with our current policies.

So how much less than 2 percent does Key want to help balance economic opportunities? A reduction of 1 percent maybe, or are we talking even smaller.  Maybe he wants our emissions to grow, but not quite so fast as under Labour? How does this square with scientific opinion that we need an 80 percent reduction in emissions? So many questions.

Of course his answer wouldn’t really matter because there are no sustainable economic opportunities from reneging on our Kyoto climate change responsibilities.  We’re already signed up and either have to reduce our emissions or pay for them.  The only economic opportunities for a country whose two biggest industries are farming and tourism are ones that protect our environment and climate. It’s amazing that parties that claim to be good at the economy can’t see that.

9 Comments Posted

  1. Research conducted bt the Stockholm Institute for British government has revealed that the exclusion of imports and exports from the Kyoto Protocol has allowed the older EU countries to export the CO2 emissions to the newer EU countries. When the SI added imports and subtracted exports Britains official reduction in CO2 emissions of approx 14% became a 14% increase. The SI quite rightly argues that each countries CO2 emissions inventory needs to measure all CO2 emissions from the consumption that occurs in that country even if the farming or manufacture occurs elsewhere. Otherwise the developed world will simply export high CO2 activities to countries either not included in the Kyoto Protocol thereby avoiding emissions penalties entirely or to small countries that will be reluctant to pass on the charges to the end consumer for fear of losing business to the non-Kyoto countries.

  2. I wish National would not only claim to be good at the economy, but actually be good for the economy.

    ACT on the other hand will do the best job for the economy and that is why it wants to repeal, not amend the ETS.

    The ETS will simply ship jobs overseas. The timber processing industry, including downstream industries such as furniture making will be decimated. Timber is worth more in the ground than processed.

    Quite how we will benefit when New Zealand owned industry moves offshore I fail to see.

  3. Why should it only be producers/farmers/corporates/manufacturers that are tasked/charged/accused with/of pollution and environmental damage?
    Where are you likely to see the most rubbish on the streets, smokey cars on the roads/oil leaking on the ground/filthy polluted creeks etc?
    As much as I want to see corporates held responsible for their pollution and packaging we need Joe public to clean up his own filth and litter.
    I live on an Island with a high proportion of unwaged/beneficiaries, why can’t these people be encouraged/enticed/persuaded to clean up the crap they leave on the streets and beaches?
    What happened to Task Force Green or whatever it was – surely an environmental party would support this?
    Hoping to get some intelligent debate rather than ideology from my esteemed green co-inhabitants.

  4. “Perhaps we could renege on our promise ?”

    On the trade possibilites, I think i’ll shamelessly copy-paste this from Hot-Topic:

    I know you weren’t asking me, Stephen, but no, I don’t think the trade argument is overhyped – in fact I think it is not given enough importance.

    Sitting comfortably in NZ it’s easy to assume that our excellent products will always find an easy market overseas. The reality is a lot more complex – it takes time and effort to build markets, but they can be lost very quickly, as scares over contamination or foot and mouth demonstrate. We’re only a tiny player in most markets, and nobody owes us a living. That’s why we’re so vulnerable to “food miles” and “buy local” arguments, or losing our carefully cultivated “100% Pure” image. Food fads can be fickle…

    Stephen 10.28.08 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks Gareth. IMHO, ’scares’ carry a hell of a lot more weight than ‘uses carbon/GHG intensive’, for obvious reasons. Currently, our products are high quality and competitive, so there is plenty of demand for them…The only way I think damage could be done here is through government enforced trade tariffs because the NZ government is not fully complying with Kyoto – for all the talk of their being mentioned, it does not seem especially plausible (maybe something has developed lately – I haven’t looked at this for several months). Or, damage may come through voluntary or government enforced labelling of products for full life-cycle GHG emissions, and consumers being picky – but businesses do not NEED Kyoto signed to take advantage of such consumer preferences, as they can be certified/independently switch to low-GHG emission business. If they can adapt to other consumer trends, why not this one?

    Gareth 10.28.08 at 1:54 pm

    That’s true enough, and quite a few NZ businesses have chosen to make a virtue of being low carbon/carbon neutral in order to protect and develop their export and/or domestic markets. Grove Mill wines is one example, but there are also a good number of tourist ventures pushing low carbon/sustainability in order to reduce tourist “guilt”.

    However, some form of carbon tariff system is likely to be part of any post-Kyoto agreement, in order to protect industries inside markets with carbon pricing. What form that sort of arrangement will take is obviously highly debatable (and negotiable), but it’s one reason why I am sceptical of lobbyists who argue that we’ll lose industry overseas if we price carbon. They may not have anywhere to go!

    Stephen 10.28.08 at 2:01 pm

    “However, some form of carbon tariff system is likely to be part of any post-Kyoto agreement”

    What do you base “likely” on? Are some countries pushing for it already, or do you simply consider it a logical ‘protective’ measure?

    Gareth 10.28.08 at 2:14 pm

    Both. Europe has explicitly called for carbon tariffs to protect European businesses from the effects of cheap imports from countries with no carbon pricing. This is one of the sticks being readied for use in getting China and India to the table.

    It’s also logical. If you are going to have an internation carbon pricing mechanism which some countries choose not to be part of, then you have to have agreed measures to deal with the free-rider problem. Having said that, I doubt that there will suddenly be carbon tariffs from 2013 – far more likely to be phased in, with exemptions for developing countries. You might also find a case being made for emissions resulting from manufacturing overseas being counted in the country of final sale (helps China, particularly) – but that’s highly contentious.

  5. Yesterday I saw a lot of polital billboards, mainly planted in the ground and pretty environmentally benign… (if aesthetically unsound)…
    except the Green Party one: On a trailer, behind a car.
    Do as I say.. not as I do?

  6. dbuckley says:
    Now if you have some ideas on how to actually and realistically change the “environment and climate”

    plant trees

  7. The only economic opportunities for a country whose two biggest industries are farming and tourism are ones that protect our environment and climate.

    Everyone can see that.

    Some can even see that tourism is at the end of its useful life, but that would be a digression.

    But what some people can’t seem to understand is that New Zealand isn’t in a position to “protect our environment and climate”; to a few significant digits we have no impact on the global environment and global cliamte at all.

    Now if you have some ideas on how to actually and realistically change the “environment and climate” then I’m keen to hear them. But redistributing wealth whilst acheiving approximately nothing isn’t realistically going to matter a jot.

Comments are closed.