Sep 10, 2008

How Much Will These Changes Cost?

This also arrived in our in box

Letter to the Editor – Dominion Post

Jeanette Fitzsimons in her article on emissions trading (9th September) agreed with me that the requirement to “green” UN emission units (AAU’s) from Eastern European countries and Russia will add to the cost of carbon; what we disagree on is by how much.

Carbon market analysts tell me that normal AAU’s have traded in the region of 6-9 Euros ($12-18) and I have seen official advice to government that “greened” AAU’s will trade at around the level of secondary CER’s – currently trading in the NZ$40 plus range.

Ms Fitzsimons says countries like the EU, Japan, Canada and probably Australia are only trading in “greened”AAUs and if we don’t do the same we will not be able to link to their schemes. However, we can’t link with these countries schemes anyway. The EU bans forestry units, which our scheme will include. Canada is currently debating the introduction of a carbon tax and has no intention of meeting their Kyoto Protocol target. Japan is not contemplating emissions trading until after 2012 and since Australia will easily meet their Kyoto Protocol target for 2012 due to historical land use change there is no advantage in them linking with NZ.

As for Ms Fitzsimons claims that taxpayers are covering the costs of large emitters – this is just politicking. The industrial sector is the only sector in New Zealand that has made significant emission reductions. Some companies have reduced their emissions below 1990 levels, which is the Kyoto Protocol target. Growth in NZ emissions since 1990 has primarily come from transport, electricity generation, agriculture and population growth.

Catherine Beard
Executive Director
Greenhouse Policy Coalition