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01, Sep, 2009

Climate legislation needs strengthening not weakening


Category: ECO Inc

The Emissions Trading Scheme should be strengthened with no cap on carbonprices to ensure all those that emit greenhouse gases have an equal incentive toreduce their emissions and to ensure that economic growth is efficient andresponding to accurate price signals, the Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO) said today.

“It is essential the legislation does not give big subsidies to smelters, steel producers, miners, the oil and gas industry, farmers or anyone else,” ECO spokesperson Cath Wallace said. Ms Wallace is an economist who specialises in public and environmental economics.

“A proposal for a cap on carbon prices would encourage inefficiency and would burden household taxpayers and small to medium enterprises. It would be a short-sighted measure which would just end up putting more costs on taxpayers and away from polluters and further preventing forestry and other mitigation industries benefiting.”

ECO was responding to the mixed report of the Select Committee on the Emission Trading Scheme.

“Taxpayers should not have to pay for emissions and neither should householders pay for the burden of industries.”

ECO supports the implementation of that emissions trading system as soon as possible.

“ECO welcomes the cross-party support for a system that applies to all sectors and all gases.”

“There should be taxpayer support to low income households rather than subsidies to smokestack industry, those that drive SUVs, miners or dairy farmers.”

“ECO welcomes the recognition that measures promoting forestry can result in perverse outcomes which result in the loss of indigenous biodiversity.”

Cath Wallace said all forest plantings should be subject to the provisions of the New Zealand Forest Accord and subsidiary agreements on climate change policy which the forestry companies and environmental groups had agreed.”

For further information, contact Cath Wallace on 021-891-994 or Barry Weeber 021-738-807.

Notes:

  1. ECO – the Environment and Conservation Organisations was established in 1972 and represents 66 groups with a concern for the environment.
  2. The key points on climate change by ECO are:
    • Action must be taken as soon as possible to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is about time New Zealand acted since it is 15 years since the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) was signed and 10 years since the Kyoto Protocol was signed.
    • Targets and timetables: Government must make strong commitments in the legislation, with staged milestones. New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced by 40 percent by 2020 and by at least 80-90 percent by 2050.
    • Taxpayers should not be left paying for the costs for polluters for the Kyoto and future obligations. All sectors should do their share of emissions reductions including methane and nitrous oxide reduction, and this includes agriculture and the New Zealand fishing industry in New Zealand waters and globally.
    • There should be no subsidies to various sectors through providing free allocations or delaying the introduction of sectors into the ETS. It is essential that all sectors are introduced into the system.
    • The ETS should ensure environmental integrity of the system by not allowing the bringing of eastern Europe hot air allocations or nuclear energy into the system. The environmental integrity requirements should be included in the legislation.
  3. The New Zealand Forest Accord and the New Zealand Climate Change Accord are agreements between the forest sector and environmental interests, including ECO, to protect biodiversity and regenerating native forests and support plantationforestry.