Well known conservative commentator Thomas Friedman contends that destroying our biodiversity to fuel unregulated economic growth is like burning the Mona Lisa to cook dinner. The issue of how we should treat natural capital in our economy resurfaced today in a new economic think-tank report.
In a classic case of doublethink, the minions at the Ministry for the Environment have withheld all the contents of an ETS cabinet document clearly labelled “Approved for Release”.
Now here’s a great idea for economic development. Extract lignite, the lowest quality coal, very wet and of low calorific value. Add copious water pollution, coal seam methane and land disturbance from open cast mining.
For the first six months of this year, wilding pine control cost DOC $811,000 in carbon liabilities – a large amount for a department that has already had its budget for this year cut by $13.5 million. That money could have saved some endangered species, increased the area of land under pest control, or – got rid of more wilding pines.
Methanex could get $87 million in free credits each year. Under the Labour scheme Methanex would have paid for their growth. Under National’s scheme, taxpayers do.
Basically, it’s less obligation for everyone, and more delay. Taxpayers pick up the cost. It seriously weakens the scheme we have now, and will do little to reduce emissions.
The Maori Party seems to be having difficulty getting the National Party to agree to raising the core benefit to compensate for higher electricity and transport fuel prices under the ETS.