Sep 4, 2008

NZ Undermines Kyoto Treaty

Remember the role played by Russia in getting the Kyoto Protocol up and running. Russia was crucial to getting the numbers up to the threshold necessary for the Treaty to come into force. Russia was allocated emissions units based on 1990 emissions and by chance, because its economy collapsed, current emissions are below 1990 levels. Russia doesn't need all its units and the rules allow Russia to sell them. It was on this basis that Russia signed up. But now we have some Governments - including New Zealand, saying that these units are not good enough, and are restricting or banning the use of these units in their domestic emissions trading schemes.

Business groups are up in arms over the increased costs this policy change in New Zealand will have (probably doubling the size of NZ's liability and the cost of carbon credits under the New Zealand scheme), but what about the international implications? What do the Russians think about this? Have they been treated in good faith by New Zealand (and others)? What was the MFAT advice on this?