Govt has an opportunity to rebuild New Zealand’s carbon market

The Green Party is welcoming the recent rise in the price on carbon, and is calling on the National Government to commit to serious reforms of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) so that New Zealand can start to reduce domestic pollution, the Green Party said today.

The cost imposed on polluters under the ETS reached $10 a tonne, the highest price polluters have faced in four years. Carbon prices have, to date, been too low to have a discernible effect on emissions reduction and emissions have actually increased 13 percent in the time the ETS has been in place.[1]

“With the price of climate pollution increasing, it would be very easy to be complacent. The National Government undermined the scheme previously and this led to a crash in the carbon price and an increase in our emissions,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The price is still far too low to be an effective incentive to business to shift investment towards low-carbon alternatives. Even at the price we have today, emissions will continue to rise. Businesses need more certainty that the carbon price won’t crash again.

“We would prefer the Government move to a simpler carbon tax system, but if it’s going to review the ETS we hope it takes it seriously and restores its integrity. This should include instituting a minimum carbon price of $25, scrapping the subsidies to polluters, and giving agriculture a deadline for entering the scheme.

“A gradual increase in the price of carbon will be good news for the economy. It will mean New Zealand businesses are more likely to invest in clean sectors of the economy, making New Zealand more competitive with the rest of the world.

“New Zealand is now playing catch-up with the rest of the world in the global shift towards low carbon economies. Other developed countries like the UK, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden, are already charging polluters upwards of $20 per tonne,[2]” said Mr Shaw.

[1] Change in net emissions 2008 – 2013 – Parliamentary Library source

[2] According to World Bank Group’s ‘State and trends of carbon pricing’ report, 2015

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