South Island, New Zealand. Photo: Warren McLaren / INOV8.
New Zealand has a new emissions trading scheme (ETS). In many ways its passage through the NZ parliament is like a parallel universe to the climate change shenanigans that have been occurring across the Tasman Sea in Australia.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), this ETS is also a watered down version of a previous model. It too provides easier options for the big polluters. It too gives the agricultural sector a get out of jail free card. (although they will have to eventually come to the party, whereas in Australia, the ag industry has permanent exemption). It too was vehemently opposed by the main opposition party. And by the Greens. It was also made possible by a last minute deal to secure the vote numbers.Only in the case of New Zealand, a conservative government was in power with the Labour Party in opposition.
Reuters have a handy breakdown of the NZ ETS, which indicate that, although no emission cap has yet been declared, the intent is that carbon emission may be culled by between 10% and 20% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. Depending, that is, on what happens at the upcoming UN Climate Change talks in Copenhagen.
The NZ National Party Government have details on how the emissions trading scheme is designed to work on their Climate Change Information site. The SMH article quotes New Zealand's Climate Change Minister Nick Smith as calling it a "workable and affordable" scheme. But they also have the opposition's climate change spokesman Charles Chauvel labelling it "economically irrational, socially inequitable, environmentally counter-productive and fiscally unsustainable."
It seems, on either side of the Tasman, that Emissions Trading Schemes and Politics may not very convivial bedfellows. We may one day lament that governments and voters around the world simply didn't have the balls to go with a more direct carbon tax.
More Green Endeavours in New Zealand
• New Zealand Drivers Use Blow-Up Dolls to Avoid Transit Fines
• New Zealand's Goal: First Truly Sustainable Nation
• Put a Cow in Your Tank. Force 10 from New Zealand
• Green Man Organic Beer from New Zealand
• Paint Recycling in New Zealand (and Elsewhere)
And did you see this one?
• Over a Hundred Massive Icebergs Heading Towards New Zealand (Photos)