Friday, April 20, 2007

Climate change: cooking the books?

National and the Greens are accusing the government of massively underestimating the cost of our Kyoto deficit, to the tune of $1.2 billion. And they're backed on this by Murray Ward, the former head of the climate change office. So, are they right? Is the government cooking the books?

Partly. One factor in the estimate is using a carbon price of NZ$30 per ton rather than the US$9.65 per ton used by Treasury. Treasury's price is based on carbon prices now, but those prices are expected to rise, and as a result Treasury's estimate is regarded as being on the low side (this also has policy consequences, BTW - lowballing the cost limits the measures the government will take). But the other factor is to look at MAF estimates for expected deforestation. These estimates show forest owners are planning to permanently deforest 47,000 hectares, rather than the 27,000 used in the projected balance of emissions. However, that estimate is in the absence of policy, and as you may be able to tell by the squealing, the government is planning to do something in this area - specifically, limiting deforestation through a deforestation permit system. If enacted, this will limit deforestation to about 27,000 hectares, and ensure that forest-owners pay the full cost of any excess.

So, the government doesn't seem to be cooking the books on the level of emissions, but should at least signal that we face a lot of risk over price - and construct policies accordingly.

Meanwhile, it's a little rich to see this criticism coming from National - a party whose "solution" to deforestation is to let it happen while giving away a billion dollars to their donors in the forestry industry. It would be nice to see the major opposition party actually present some serious solutions for once, rather than trying to actively make things worse for the benefit of their rich mates.



do you want to give my tax to russia bc I use too much carbon?
nice wood fire tonight though.

Giving $1 is still too much.


Posted by Anonymous : 4/20/2007 09:39:00 PM

Anon: No. I'd rather we reduced emissions in New Zealand than paying people to reduce them overseas. But like it or not, we ratified Kyoto; like it or not, we now have a legal obligation to reduce emissions; and like it or not, successive governments have sat on their arses and put the problem off until tomorrow for the last ten years, leaving us to deal with the consequences of their inaction. As a result of that stupid lack of policy, it now looks like we will have to purchase credits overseas.

As for how they will be paid for, I am firmly in favour of "polluter pays". Those responsible for emissions should bear the cost, rather than dumping it on the taxpayer as they do at present.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/21/2007 01:54:00 AM

I can't believe you answered that incoherent comment... you should probably feel free to just delete that kind of babble


Posted by Anonymous : 4/23/2007 10:32:00 AM