Emissions Trading Scheme Review Wasted Opportunity

Press Release – Greenhouse Policy Coalition

The executive director of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, representing the energy intensive sector on climate change issues, today described the Select Committee review of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) as a wasted opportunity.

News Release

31 August 2009

Emissions Trading Scheme Review Wasted Opportunity.

The executive director of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, representing the energy intensive sector on climate change issues, today described the Select Committee review of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) as a wasted opportunity.

Catherine Beard, executive director of the GPC says New Zealand needs a policy response to climate change that is not going to lead the world and impose extremely high costs on our economy.

“Unfortunately, despite hearing a huge number of submissions from our productive sectors that were very similar about what needed to be done, the ETS Review has produced no consensus across political parties about how to allow New Zealand to play its part without crippling the economy.”

“We currently have enacted the most comprehensive and expensive emissions trading scheme in the world. No other country has attempted an all sectors all gases emissions trading scheme that opens up its whole economy to the volatile carbon markets controlled in the European Union”.

“To avoid greater economic decline, we need to see consensus on a more sensible approach. This would have included a low fixed price of carbon in the initial years of an emission trading scheme, similar to what is proposed in Australia”.

“We look to have some consensus on an intensity based scheme (emissions per unit of output), which would encourage investment in new and lower emitting technology, whereas the current Act encourages industry to run plant into the ground and exit the country.”

Catherine Beard says the bottom line for New Zealand industry is that it needs to remain competitive in Asia as well as Europe and care needs to be taken to ensure this happens in the transition to all countries pricing carbon.

“While some try to argue about whether polluter pays or the taxpayer pays, at the end of the day all New Zealanders will pay as increased energy costs affect us all. The end result of loading too much cost on to industries which are already at Worlds Best Practice in efficiency will be a loss of international competitiveness for our largest employers, leading to a low wage and low employment economy. Other countries are being very careful to design their emissions trading schemes to protect their economic interests and we should be doing the same.”

“New Zealand already has the 3rd lowest GDP per capita amongst Annex 1 parties (developed countries) and if we don’t lower the cost of our emissions trading scheme we will slide even further backwards.”

ENDS

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